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By 

Jen/ as ffiksoLOi 



A very lively story, crammed full of incident.— The rimes. 
Clever character drawing. Teeming incident. Flowing style-— vanity Fa 
The plot is developed with care, precision and completeness.— Saturday Rt ■vie* 

W. BLACKWOOD & SONS, EDINBURGH & LONDON. 



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In Memoriam 



I Ruth Candler Lovett ^ 




GOLDEN LIVES: 



THE STORY OF 



A WOMAN'S COURAGE 



GOLDEN LIYES 



THE STOI1Y <>F 



A WOMAN'S COURAGE 



BY 



FREDERICK WICKS, 



WITH ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY ILLUSTRATIONS 



BY 



JEAN de PALEOLOGUE. 



WILLIAM BLACKWOOD & SONS, 

EDINBUKGH AND LONDON. 



MDCCCXCI. 



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1 DKDk'ATK THIS UOOK 

I'D 

HAT lil'SY, EAOKIi, KKSTKKSS TUIfONG 

WHO HAVE NO TIME, 

IN TIIK llol'K THAT 
Jl'ST IN TIIK SAMK WAV AS 1 11AVK KN.IOYKD SOMK OASKS OK CALM 
IN TIIK MIDST OK A VKKY 1 1 1 : S V KIKK l!Y W'ldTINO THIS STOKY, 
SO T11KY MAY l>l;oi'Ul;K A I.ITTLK DlSTKAl'TlON IN HKADINC IT. 

AND SKKINO 

THAT '1'IIK MliKTII'UOATION OK W'OliOS IS T1HKKOMK 

1IAYK KN DKAVOH If K 1) TO I'SM AS FEW AS 1'OSSIUKK 

AND MKOII 

THAT IN TIIK OKD1NAKY WAY WOKLH UK SAID IN 

],ON(i I'AUAOUAITIS OK DKSCKI I'l'ION 

I HAVK I'ONYKYKD TUKOI OIL TIIK I'KNCIK Oh' ANOTJIKK, 

WHO, SKKKEIilNO YlOAKIOl SKY, HAS l'ATLKNTKY ENDUKKJ) 

MY ]>KTAII,KD DKSCKU'TIONS OK KACH INl'iDKNT, 

AND, 

with admiuablk k.umlity and indkstky, - has uiven to my idkas 

l'ALl'AUKK CONKKI U If A THIN. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER 

I. Samuel Shorter Revises his Correspondence 

II. Joshua Cope's Partner 

III. Joshua Cope on Marriage 

IV A Thread of Life 

V Joshua Cope as Providence 

VI. Crawley Foyle as a Politician and a Fathe 

VII. A Curious Ante-Nuptial Settlement 

VIII. Some Remarkably Plain Speaking 

IX. Joshua Cope's Purchase 

X. The Junior Partner Exhibits Talent 

XL David Thresher Discovers his Loss 

XII. The Founder's Heir 

XIII. An Extraordinary Case of Abduction 

XIV David Thresher Reviews the Situatio 

XV Mrs. Cope"s " at Home " 

XVI. The Land of Death 

XVII. The Land of Fashion 

XVIII. A Catastrophe 

XIX. The Consequent Enquiry 

XX. Egg Flip 

XXI. The Surprise 

XXII. A Clue 

XXIII. An Accidental Meeting 

XXIV Mr. Speezer's Confidence 

XXV By Sea and by Land 

XXVI. Conventional Grief and Real M 

XXVII. Parasites at Work ... 

XXVIII. A Stone Wall Mystery 

XXIX. Thresher Resolves to Pay a Visit 

XXX. An Honourable Surrender 



PAGE 

1 

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41 

4!) 

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70 

77 

83 

94 

104 

110 

123 

130 

137 

148 

158 

104 

171 

170 

181 

187 

200 

207 

210 



Vlll. 

CHAPTER 

XXXI. 
XXXII. 
XXXIII. 
XXXIV 
XXXV 
XXXVI. 
XXXVII. 
XXXVIII. 
XXXIX. 



CONTENTS. 



An Awakening 

The First Act 

A Conflagration 

The Triumph of Cope 

Introspection 

The Practice of the Law 

General and Particular 

Silas W Omah Arrives 

Silas AV Omah " Owns rp a Busted Flush 



page 

239 

247 

249 

. 260 

, 266 

. 268 

282 

285 

299 



Postscript. 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



CHAPTEE I. 



SAMUEL SHOETEB EE VISES HIS CORRESPONDENCE. 



It was the custom of Samuel Shorter to 
accumulate his correspondence in the various 
pockets of his black frock coat, and, when 
opportunity offered, to revise the contents of 
his pockets by destroying what was of no 
longer any use. If a fire were near at the 
time, he would burn the rejected letters ; but 
his favourite time for unburdening himself 
was a railway journey, when he could tear the 
letters into small pieces, and scatter them to 
the winds. It chanced, therefore, that, sitting 
in a corner seat of a third-class carriage on 
the Midland Railway, he went through his 
pockets, as he travelled South — "for," said he to himself, 
" what is more like to oblivion than a Yorkshire moor ? " — and 
he commenced tearing up vigorously on leaving Appleby. 

The wind was in the East, and it was strong ; and as there 
were five other people in the carriage, he had to consult their 
prejudices in the matter of East wind. But, having persuaded 
his fellow-passengers that a little air was necessary, he 
lowered the window two inches at the top, and gave a handful 
of fragments to the winds. Some letters he tore up in large 
pieces, and threw them out at once ; others he tore and re-tore 




5a GOLDEN LIVES. 

and scattered in two or more portions, and a close observer 
could have determined the confidential character of the com- 
munications he disposed of by the size of the pieces to which 
he reduced them before giving them to the winds. 

Samuel Shorter was not a nice-looking man. He was tall, 
and thin, with round shoulders, and a sly look ; about fifty 
years of age, clean shaven, with close-cut red hair, colourless 
eyebrows, freckles in abundance, and thin, compressed lips. 




His eyes were grey and usually half closed, panther-like; 
and though methodical in his manner and £ apparently 
engrossed in what he was doing, he every now and then 
took a rapid survey of his fellow travellers. There was 
a steady, business-like persistence in the care with which 
he examined each letter. His face was not an index to his 
thoughts : it was a blank. But as each letter disappeared 
through the space above the nearly closed window, his thin 
lips became thinner and more firmly set, and his half-closed 
eyes seemed almost entirely to disappear. Shorter's friends 



SAMUEL SHORTER REVISES HIS CORRESPONDENCE. 3 

well knew that this was his way of expressing satisfaction 
with himself and his works. The young girl, of an observant 
nature, sitting opposite to him, thought it a very disagreeable 
way ; and despite his clerical garb, his studied propriety, and 
his conciliatory speeches, she shrank from him. He reminded 
her, as he went stealthily through his correspondence, selecting, 
and destroying, and dispersing, of one of those wild animals in 
the Zoological Gardens, restlessly busy and terribly energetic ; 
but not for good. 

" There's the last," said Shorter, as he sent a batch of paper 
flying ; " and now we'll shut the window. There's nothing 
like a railway train for dispersing correspondence." 

But a Yorkshire moor was not oblivion. It happened that 
the wind was driving with considerable force almost at right 
angles to the train ; and as the fragments of Snorter's cor- 
respondence left his hand they scudded along the sides of the 
carriages, rattling against the windows as they passed, and 
spreading out like a fan, some going over the top of the train, 
some passing under, and other pieces sticking on the handles of 
the doors and other projections, pinned there by the wind. It 
chanced that among the passengers amused by the flight of the 
Shorter correspondence was a solitary 
occupant of a first-class carriage, 
named Joseph Eales, who raised his 
eyes from his book at the sound of the 
paper clattering on the glass. Eales 
was a young man of strikingly accu- 
rate features, an excellent row of teeth, 
dark brown hair, and almost black 
eyes of singular keenness. He wore 
a travelling suit, and appeared to be of 
an amiable disposition, yet capable 
withal of pursuing a purpose with un- 
faltering determination. 

Having looked at the flying fragments curiously for some 
moments, he remarked that some pieces were occasionally for an 
instant held flattened against one or other of the windows, and 
then, as he attempted to read what was written upon them, 
thev would, from some change in the current or force of the 
wind, dash away on their wild career. Some pieces remained 

B 2 




GOLDEN LIVES. 




longer than others, and as he watched them, wondering how long 
they would hold there, another volley fluttered past, beating 
against the windows ; when, suddenly as if he had been the 
subject of an electric shock, his face assumed an appearance of 
vigorous determination. Another square inch of paper had 
struck the window and become fixed, partly by the wind, 
and partly by being pressed into a chink in the frame. Upon 
it, in a bold handwriting, were the letters 
" ua Cope." 

It was the name that startled the solitary 
traveller, and, throwing his book away, he 
rapidly let down the window. The next 
moment he had the piece of paper in the 
compartment together with the blank that 
had still retained its place, but the other 
pieces had been dispersed and rested 
somewhere on the line among the grey 
stones and the sleepers, a very wilder 
ness for the concealment of scraps of paper, but still not 
oblivion. 

" 'Wonderful ! " was the exclamation that fell from Eales 
as he held the two pieces of paper in the palm of his hand. 
Then suddenly putting them in his book for safety he put 
his head out of the window to watch whence the paper came. 
In another minute he had a shower in his face from the 
second compartment from his own. Then they ceased. 
" Good," said he ; " and where are we ? " 
The landmarks were few The district was desolate ; scarcely 
anything was visible but grey rocks, all broken and serrated, 
cropping up out of the grass, with low-lying hills in the distance. 
A few solitary sheep grazed about a quarter of a mile from the 
railway, but neither man nor habitation was to be seen. As 
he examined the dreary prospect the train passed on to a 
viaduct with a stone wall on either side. This was sufficient. 
Eales gathered his things together, strapped them up, and with 
cool deliberation broke the apparatus for causing the train to 
be stopped. 

The driver pulled up in the midst of a barren waste before 
reaching the small station of Eibblesbead, and engineer, guard 
and passengers were naturally inquisitive. Eales threw his 



SAMUEL SHORTER REVISES HIS CORRESPONDENCE. 




packages from the carriage, and quickly followed them. 

As the guard approached him he produced his card case 

and said firmly : 

" That is my name and 

address. It is necessary 

I should leave the train. 

My luggage will go on to 

London, and I will answer 

for the stoppage to the Sec- 
retary of the Company." 
The guard seemed 

annoyed, and was tempted 

to remonstrate, but the 

firmness with which the 

traveller announced his 

determination seemed to 

impress him. He asked 

for his ticket which he impounded, on the plea that it did not 

authorise a traveller to break the journey at that place, and 
then waved the engine-driver to proceed. As the train moved 

off, Eales stood face to face with Shorter, but neither knew 
the other. If anything, Eales had the advantage, because he 
knew the torn letters came from the compartment in which 
the man with the blanched face sat, and it was fair to assume 
that it was from his hand and not the girl's that the fragments 
were thrown from the window. 

The train was very soon a mere speck in the distance, and 
Eales, having placed his wrappers against a block of stone, 
set off down the line to the place where the papers he was 
more particularly interested in were thrown from the carriage. 
He had undertaken a difficult task without much surety that 
the result would be useful, even if accomplished ; and when he 
had crossed the long bridge with a wall on each side, and looked 
over the grey expanse beyond, he began to doubt whether he had 
not been a little rash in delaying his journey to London for an 
entire day, with a chance of a twenty mile walk before he 
came to a house, all for a thing that might prove to be quite 
useless. 

The sleepers of the line were laid in a grey stone, that, at a 
distance, was almost identical with the colour of the paper he 



6 GOLDEN LIVES. 

had in his hand ; and a steady scrutiny right and left, zig-zag 
fashion, for fully five minutes, gave no trace of a scrap of paper 
to the keenest pair of eyes in civilised man that ever searched 
upon the ground. 

It was useless to repent. The train was gone, and he slowly 
continued his walk with bent back and a frowning brow. At 
length he descried a piece of paper standing up against the 
rail. It matched the colour of the two pieces he held, but it 
was a blank. Still it gave him confidence. He had arrived at 
the spot where the fragments fell. He found another piece, 
this time with writing on it, and another. He became excited 
and energetic. A Yorkshire moor was not oblivion ! 

Carefully placing the pieces in a pocket book as he picked 
them up, he continued the search for two hours, and then had 
enough to make it worth while to examine them. The high 



if,-',, *^1? y > 




wind troubled him, but he happened to have two shillingsworth 
of postage stamps in his pocket book, and, shielded behind 
a low wall, he was able to select the outside pieces 01 
the letter and stick them on to the back of the stamps. He 
then made up part of a second row, and a third, and a fourth. 
The letter had been torn into thirty-two pieces, twenty-three 



SAMUEL SHOETEE EEVIEWS HIS COEEESPONDENCE. 7 

of which he had found. Several of the missing pieces were 
obviously blanks, so he wanted only five to make the letter 
complete. 

When he had pasted together all the pieces he had found the 
fragments made an interesting piece of patchwork, of which a 
representation appears below 



*T>*W '■MD3C^- , "f->? : 5''i!t***»*3S-f!i -, 




CHAPTER II. 



JOSHUA COPE'S PABTNEB. 



Mb. Cbawley Foyle was a 
profuse man. Big, almost to 
grossness, loud and demon- 
strative in speech, exuberant 
in protestations of affection or 
denunciation, extravagant in 
opinion, eager, excitable, and 
violent — a sort of social whirl- 
wind. If repose had been 
possible, he would have been 
accounted handsome. His iron- 
grey hair was abundant and 
wavy, his nostril and lips were 
full, and his eyes sparkled with 
animation. His garments were 
capacious, but not other- 
wise singular ; he eschewed 
diamonds, but was remarkable 
for the taste he displayed in 
antique jewellery. He was a Member of Parliament for 
Buckton, and lived in Eaton Square. 

Mr. Foyle's name was William, but he strove to forget it. 
He used the " W " only, because he hoped that, by persistent 
endeavours, he might induce the public to endow him with a 
hyphen, and that he might become Crawley-Foyle to all the 
world. 

Crawley Foyle manipulated mankind by gastronomy. He 
believed in the dinner party as the greatest social engine of 
the nineteenth century. In commerce, as in politics, he 
relied upon his cook ; and his commercial relations were com- 
plicated. Being eminently a pushing man, he was mixed up 
with many enterprises— a director of several companies and 
was supposed to have money in various private firms. His 
office was in the Minories, where he appeared as Schreiber 







JOSHUA COPE'S PARTNER. 9 

and Co., and as a marine victualling contractor, generally 
known as a ship chandler. He preferred those businesses 
that ministered to the animal wants of his fellow men, and 
he was ready to purvey anything that could be eaten or drunk, 
for any number of people, in any part of the world. Being 
lavish in expenditure, he was commonly supposed to be 
wealthy : as a matter of fact, he floated on a sea of debt. 

"Debt," said Crawley Foyle, when performing as a states- 
man, "is the pivot of commerce." Domestically, and as a 
merchant, he spoke only of " obligations." The word sounded 
smoother, and suggested something complimentary and agree- 
able. He had many of them, and from the way in which he 
spoke of them one would almost have thought he was rather 
proud of the possession ; still he steadfastly refused to add 
them up, or regard them in any other light than as passing 
incidents in what he called "the daily round of life." 

It was a AVednesday, and Mr. Foyle reached home from the 
House of Commons by five in the afternoon. 

" Bidewell," said he to his butler, " Mr. Cope dines here to- 
night, and remember he likes Madeira. Get some of the '28." 

Bidewell was a small, timid man, with failing eyes and a 
trembling lip. His excessive anxiety to please made him bold 
to speak when he would have better consulted his peace of mind 
by silence. Accordingly he announced by way of correction, 
" There are only two bottles of it left." 

"What of that, sir," exclaimed the member for Buckton. 
" Cope must have it. You must empty the cellar if Cope wants 
it ! Cope must have everything he wants — do you hear ? " 

Bidewell heard, and knew from the vehemence of the 
declaration that Mr. Cope must be his peculiar care. Why 
the strange, little wiry old man, with a deep scar above his left 
temple, should be so considered, was a mystery he did not try 
to penetrate. He knew he was Foyle's partner, and that he 
was wealthy, but he knew no more. 

Joshua Cope was, indeed, wealthy. He made money in 
many ways, and nearly all of them nasty He supplied 
Schrieber & Co. with capital, declined to know what was 
purveyed, and took most of the profits ; he had a nail 
warehouse near Halesowen, and the misery of the nailers 
amused him ; he had manure works in Liverpool, New- 



10 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



castle, and Glasgow, where his workmen were paid for hold- 
ing their tongues, because all the dead horses and diseased 
cattle he bought were not made into manure ; he had been 
a smuggler in his youth, he said, hence the scar ; he had 

been all over the world ; he was ugly, 
avaricious, and essentially brutal in 
his disposition ; he was a member of 
the London Warehouse Tontine Asso- 
ciation ; he was, in fact, one of the 
Golden Lives, and he had made up 
his mind to outlive his partners in 
that wealthy corporation. 

He arrived shortly after Boyle, and 
handed his hat to Bidewell in a cool, 
matter-of-course manner, indicating 
that he was thoroughly at home, and 
with full command of the establish- 
ment. He seemed to be somewhat 
absorbed in thought, though at the 
same time thoroughly confident. 

" Where's your master?" he asked, 
rubbing his brown and sinewy hands. 
[^"With the ladies." 

"Shew me my room," said Cope; and Bidewell glided 
orward to do what he knew to be totally unnecessary, for 
Mr. Cope's room was an established institution, and never 
varied. This was a second indication to Bidewell that some- 
thing unusual was afoot. A third indication followed. 
" Can you shave ? " asked Cope. 
" Yes, sir." 
" Then shave me." 

Bidewell could not but admit that this was necessary. 
Without being actually dirty, Joshua Cope had an untidy and 
disagreeable appearance. His brown, weather-beaten skin, the 
persistency with which his collar disappeared behind his black 
silk tie, his rumpled shirt front, and his rusty clothes defied all 
attempts at polish. Still the request was singular, but Bidewell 
associated it in some way with '28 Madeira, and responded 
with alacrity. 

There was a grim and whimsical smile around the hard, 




JOSHUA COPE'S PARTNER, 



11 



square mouth of Joshua Cope while Bidewell was absent in 
quest of hot water. He walked the room in deep and 
humorous contemplation. He was evidently well-pleased 
with himself. 

As for Bidewell he had a misgiving that while shaving and 
''2S Madeira came within the same general category of " care 
of Mr. Cope," yet Mr. Foyle should be informed. He 
accordingly sought his master in the drawing-room, and 
furtively whispered that Mr. Cope had desired to be shaven. 

" Then shave him, in the name of the Lord ! " exclaimed 
Mr. Crawley Foyle, with his arms in the air, and his whole 
aspect one of violent emotion. Upon which Mrs. Foyle, a 




patient woman of forty-five, nearly upset a cup of tea and 
exclaimed : 

" Oh ! William, please don't." 

" Don't, my dear, and why not ? Mr. Cope is our guest. 
He wants Bidewell to shave him. Let him be shaved, I say — 
shave him ! D'ye hear ? " 

Bidewell left without a word, and Mrs. Foyle explained 
that she had not the least objection, but that William said 
" such things," and was so excited that she really couldn't help 



12 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



it. And the poor lady stroked her lap, and seemed inclined 
to weep. 

There was a spectator to this incident — their daughter 
Isabel, who, when Mr. Foyle essayed to expostulate remarked 
firmly, but with perfect composure : 
" Papa, don't be absurd." 
And papa was silent. 

Isabel Foyle was a strange product f this curiously dis- 
similar pair. She was the exact'' 
transcript of her father, refined 
and modulated ; but it was not 
merely the coarse and florid man 
refined : she was Crawley Foyle 
idealised physically and mentally. 
His light grey eyes were violet 
in her, his sensuous mouth was 
merely hinted at, and yet its full 
ripe curves were eloquent of all 
that was human. Her hair was 
auburn in colour and abundant, 
well cared for and plainly dressed ; 
her brow was high, and her 
figure a model of rich woman- 
hood. Dignified in movement, 
and always composed, she never 
allowed her feelings to become 
her master. She was tender and 
considerate with her mother, because she was weak ; but she 
ruled her father imperiously. She would have had some 
difficulty in analysing her feelings, but there is no doubt she 
was actuated, probably without knowing it, by the fact that 
Crawley Foyle was an impostor. 

Having checked her father, she handed a fan to her mother 
and walked to the other end of the room. 
Crawley Foyle retired, and there was peace. 
In the meantime, Bidewell had Cope in hand, or it would 
be more accurate to say, Cope had Bidewell in hand, for he 
made him talk like a real barber. 

" Many dinner parties lately, Bidewell ? " 
" Not quite so many, sir." 




JOSHUA COrB'S PARTNER. 



13 



" Much going out ? " 

" Pretty considerable, sir, but not the ladies." 

" Seen Mr. Thresher lately ? " 

" He come on Monday, sir, and he's coming to-night." 

" He's a good deal about, I suppose?" 

" Oh ! yes, sir. He's very attentive ; and though I think 
Mr. Foyle would have liked Miss Isabel to look a leetle bit 
higher, they're a handsome pair." 

' Cope gave a grunt that rather disconcerted Bidewell. 
Failing to interpret it, he dropped the subject, but Cope being 




now free to walk about, examined his chin in the glass, as 
he said : 

" She'll jilt him, Bidewell ; I'm sure she'll jilt him. 
Something always happens to upset these nice little 
arrangements." 

"I hope not, I'm sure," was Bidewell's pious aspiration; 
but Cope gave another grunt, this time obviously a grunt of 
disapproval. 

" You may go, Bidewell," he said. 

" Yes, sir, dinner at 7.30 ; " and Bidewell left with the 
unpleasant feeling that he had not managed as well as he had 
desired. 



14 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



W$fi 



The dinner was a sublime effort on the part of M. Parlou, 
the French cook, who had been worked up to a high pitch of 
bad language — in French also — through Mr. Foyle having had 
an interview with him the day before, and declared that he 
had never in his whole life cooked anything fit to be eaten. The 

interview was stormy in the extreme. 
M. Parlou declared his honour had been 
insulted, and resigned his trust with the 
air of an ambassador, upon which Mr. 
Foyle became incoherent with rage and 
left the house. He returned in the 
afternoon covertly to inquire whether the 
threat of instant departure had been 
carried out, and went down to the House 
of Commons to legislate with a feeling of 
repose since M. Parlou had resolved to 
take a noble revenge by surpassing him- 
self. The result was prodigious, but 
costly. It was M. Parlou' s habit in his 
sublimer moments to commit to the 
flames all dishes concerning the excellence 
of which he had doubts. Two dozen kromesky furnished the 
fuel for the successful course. The kitchen was a pande- 
monium, but the dinner was exquisite, and Crawley Foyle was 
certain he had the finest cook in the world. 

Mr. Foyle's party consisted of ten, seated at a round table, 
over which was suspended a lamp covered by a crimson shade, 
lined with white satin. Mrs. Foyle was present, dressed in 
pink, and distressingly pensive. She was escorted by the 
Hon. Mr. Peach, a Member, and a younger son, who espoused 
Eadical opinions of the extreme type, chiefly because his 
father was a Tory, and he imagined that he could not be a 
loser in the event of a general scramble. Her left hand 
supporter was Colonel Pate, of the Commissariat Department, 
who was not in the least annoyed because a half-pay Captain, 
named Percival Joybell, paid special attention to his partner, 
Mrs. Lupin, a highly-coloured lady of mature years. Her 
husband sat next to Mr. Foyle. He was pale and fair, and 
though giving evidence of extreme timidity, had a commercial 
history which Mr. Foyle would say marked him out as a man 




JOSHUA COPE'S PABTNER. 



15 



of courage and foresight. He was originally a bank clerk, and 
having by penurious habits saved a thousand pounds in fifteen 
years, he purchased the titles to a heavily mortgaged property 
in Monmouthshire, discovered a mineral spring on it that had 
never before been dreamt of, advertised a natural effervescing 
water of great medicinal qualities, made a fortune and retired, 
by which time the spring appeared to dry up. Cope admired 
Mr. Lupin, and frequently gazed upon him with genuine 
satisfaction. 

David Thresher, who sat between Mr. Lupin and Isabel, 
was tall and strongly built, with an abundant flaxen beard and 
a delicate moustache that showed his 
lips, dark brown eyes, and a strong 
growth of short, wavy brown hair. 
He was essentially a strong man, 
quiet in manner, determined in 
purpose, and capable of waiting. 
Isabel noticed that he was unusually 
reserved this evening, and resolved 
to know why. But she also could 
wait. Cope, who sat next to Foyle, 
watched them with a keen and 
at times malignant interest. Her 
beauty irritated him. She wore a 
low dress of ruby silk, moderately 
trimmed with black lace, a camellia 

in her bosom, and another in her hair. Her sleeves were 
merely shoulder straps, and the moulding of her neck 
defied criticism. Full and round, every line was a graceful 
curve, and the alabaster surface betrayed no blemish either of 
form or colour. 

Isabel was animated. She quizzed the Hon. Mr. Peach, 
and relieved her mother of the necessity of entertaining the 
Colonel. That was the understanding between them, and 
the reason she sat so near her mother. The conversation, 
however, was general. Foyle broke out into violent political 
declamation now and then, and excited the admiration of 
Captain Joybell, who, grey, dishevelled, and generally gone 
to seed, was elated at the bare idea of being in the company of 
capitalists, for whom, as a genus, he had a profound veneration. 




16 (HDLDEN LIVES. 

Captain Joybell was related to David Thresher by marriage ; 
his presence at the dinner table was the consequence of a 
recent introduction and the realisation of an elaborate scheme 
on Joybell's part. The gallant Captain was full of brilliant 
schemes, that needed only capital to enable him to realise 
immense fortunes, and Foyle, he knew, was the very man 
for him. He told Cope so before they had finished the 
soup, and Cope was inwardly convulsed with delight at the 
humour of the situation. 

Captain Joybell's schemes were all miracles of wealth. 
Only the day before he had met a man with a gold mine 
in his pocket in the shape of a concession. A week before, 
an enterprising German chemist, without a shirt, explained 
to him a new explosive as harmless as sawdust, of which a 
pound weight was capable of levelling the Houses of 
Parliament, while an American of undoubted probity, had 
placed at his disposal for one week a preferential claim to 
a great invention for catching fish, by the attraction of the 
electric light through the glass bottom of a boat ; by means 
of this expedient myriads of fish could be scooped up in an 
hour. All these and many other schemes of prospective 
wealth were at his command, if only he could beguile a 
capitalist to his assistance. 

Towards the close of the dinner Crawley Foyle became 
excited about the condition of the British aristocracy, 
denounced them one and all as " drones fattening on the 
earnings of the hardy sons of toil." " Not like my friend 
Peach," he qualified, " who associates himself with great 
enterprises for the welfare of his fellow men." 

"Aristocracy!" exclaimed Captain Joybell, "what can 
aristocracy do for your great enterprise ? Sit on them. Crush 
them. The capitalist is my aristocracy ! Why, gentlemen, 
my friend Mr. Crawley Foyle is a prince — a prince, 
gentlemen." 

And the gallant Captain gazed upon his glass of port with 
a proud and happy smile. The company was not in the 
humour to be critical, and from various motives was rather 
pleased than otherwise with the outburst of enthusiasm. It 
relieved the monotony and it was singular from the fact that it 
was almost sincere. 



Joshua cope's partner. 



17 



In due time the function came to an end, and the company 
dispersed with the feeling that another solemn duty had been 
discharged. 

David Thresher took leave of Isabel in the library, where 
she had led him, and as they were parting she said : 

" Now tell me what has made you so dull this evening? " 

" Nothing," said he, with a nervous tremor of his upper lip 
that was common with him. 

" That is not true," she said; "tell me." And she looked 
up into his face with an intentness that made him shrink and 
turn aside as he said, 

" I cannot, because " 

And then he stopped. 

"What can there be so to affect you," she asked stepping 
back a pace, " that I should not know V " She stood with 




her right foot in advance, almost, as it were, upon the 

defensive. 

c 



18 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



" That which is the secret of another, who " and again 

he stopped, and looked upon the floor, for her eyes were 
intent upon him and began to flash with indignation rather 
than love. 

There was a pause. 

"You have said you love me," she exclaimed, "and with 
passionate appeals have sought my love. I hoped to give it 
and would have married you ; but what marriage can that be 
where confidence is denied ? That which I may not know 
should not be part of you and your life." 

And she left him. 




CHAPTEK III. 



JOSHUA COPE ON MARRIAGE. 




Joshua Cope indulged him- 
self in one luxury — tobacco. 
His cigars were the most fra- 
grant and rare that money 
could produce. He imported 
them himself, selected the best, 
and sold what was left to a 
dealer. He took infinite pains 
with them in their storage, 
and made his daily choice with 
much deliberation ; he refused 
to smoke any cigars but his own, and while nothing put 
him in a worse humour than the smell of bad tobacco, he 
seemed to revel with a sort of fierce exultation in the 
fragrance of his own. He liked Foyle's smoking-room. 
It was not too large, the leather chairs were capacious and 
low ; the room was effectually ventilated, and was not 
too far away from the other habitable parts of the house. 

" Foyle, I've brought you a cigar," said he. "It's not my 
taste, but it will suit you exactly." 

Then he proceeded to pierce the end with a bodkin without 
breaking the leaf, and handed it to his friend with something 
like satisfaction gleaming from his eye. Smoking seemed to 
have quite a humanising influence upon him. 

They lighted up and settled themselves in their chairs. 
" Give me the facts," said Cope. 
Foyle shook his head and pursed up his lips. 
" It's a very painful business, my dear Cope, very painful — 
his relations to Isabel." 

" In ever mind about her, Foyle, let us get to business, 
did Thresher say ? " 

" He said, my dear Cope, that we were carrying 
dishonest business, and he wished to retire from it." 
" Nothing more?" 

c 



AVhat 



on 



20 GOLDEN LIVES. 

" Not a word." 

"No threats?" 

"None." 

"Oh." 

Cope ruminated ; and after a time jerked out suddenly : 

"What is his capital?" 

"£52,000." 

" Oh," said Cope, and then in a tone of guileless incapacity, 
he asked, " what is to be done ? " 

" That, my dear Cope, is for you to say." 

" Dear Cope wants to know what you are going to do, Foyle." 

" I do ? " exclaimed the head and front of Schrieber & Co. ; 
" I can do nothing — literally nothing. You know my political 
position and all the numerous obligations resting upon me. 
It is impossible — absolutely impossible for me to do a single 
thing." 

Cope smoked vigorously, revolving his great cigar with his 
lips, as if he were winding himself up. Foyle waited with 
submissive silence : his loud-voiced domineering self-assertion 
was gone. He was passing through a crisis. David Thresher's 
fifty thousand had been an acceptable addition to the resources 
of the firm of Schrieber & Co. when he joined it, and the 
new partner had been placidly indifferent for a year or two as 
to the course of the business ; but accident had brought to his 
knowledge one or two facts from which he drew conclusions 
detrimental to the honesty, the morality, and even the 
humanity of Schrieber & Co. David Thresher took the 
sober commonplace view that a ship's crew, on the open sea, 
with bad provisions, would be in a fair way of meeting death, 
and he did not look with equanimity on the fact that he might 
by a strict view of responsibility be regarded as in some sense 
their murderer. He accordingly expostulated, but without 
effect, and, therefore, resolved to withdraw. 

Cope stopped smoking, laid his cigar down, and leaning 
forward said : 

" Oh ! dear no," exclaimed Foyle, " none at all " 
" Oh " grunted Cope, and he commenced smoking aeain 
Presently he said with great deliberation : s & • 



JOSHVA C'Ol'K OX MAHRIAOK. 21 

" It seems to me that the position stands in this way 
Master Thresher desires to get rid of us. Now I propose 
we should get rid of him. I don't care to have a mean self- 
sufficient morality-monger going about our place, looking here 
and there, and finding fault with our notions of the way 
of making profits. He must go, Foyle, before; he makes 
mischief. We must get rid of him at once." 

"Admirable," exclaimed Foyle. 

" I mean altogether," said Cope, with a searching look, 
" root and branch." 

Foyle thought of Isabel, and turned pale. Cope resumed : 

" The first thing you have to do is to look the facts in the 
face. You never do, but if you don't begin soon, the facts will 
look you in the face and stare you out of countenance. Now 
look ! If you made out a fair and square balance sheet of 
your affairs with the world, you will find you couldn't 
pay five shillings in the pound. You're a pauper Foyle. Do 
vou see? " 

Crawley Foyle shuddered. 

"Now," said Cope, "that's a bad state to be in, and 
you've got to get out of it. And I'll tell yer how." 

Foyle started. A faint ray of hope shot across his 
countenance. 

"You have first," said Cope, with an emphasis almost 
amounting to violence, " to get rid of Thresher altogether. 
You are not going to let your daughter marry a man who 
accuses you of dishonesty ? " 

" Certainly not," said Foyle, reviving under the influence of 
outraged virtue. 

" Thing's preposterous," responded Cope, who, after a 
pause, proceeded methodically: " Now, I have been looking 
at Miss Isabel to-night, and I have come to the conclusion 
that she's your trump card. You must sell her ! " 

Mr. Crawley Foyle bounded from his chair, his arms 
revolved like the sails of a windmill. He ejaculated : 
" Monstrous ! Horrible ! Heathenish ! " and a variety of 
other melo-dramatic exclamations, during which Cope placidly 
smoked his cigar. The paroxysm having passed, Foyle stood 
glaring into space, very much out of breath, and very red in 
the face. 



22 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



"I expected you would say that," said Cope, and after 
another gentle and reflective smoke, he continued his argument. 
Throwing his words at his partner with crushing emphasis, he 
said : 

" I knew you'd say that ; but you're wrong. You are wrong 
because you will not look things in the face. Every match 
made in every house in this Square is a question of sale and 
purchase. Money or money's worth. Nothing else. They 
all shut their eyes to it ; but shutting your eyes don't alter the 
facts. You were selling your daughter to Thresher, and you 
were going to make a bad bargain, and I'll tell you the bargain 
you ought to make. You have got to get a hundred thousand 
pounds settled on her for her own absolute use, so that you 
may have someone to take care of you when you smash up." 




Foyle winced. 

" She should have," continued Cope, "the interest r on the 
hundred thousand as long as her husband lives and if she 
survives him she should have the capital. And if your son-in- 
law is worthy of your daughter he wiil put fifty thousand 
pounds into your business. If he's a mean-spirited, squeamish 



JOSHUA COPE ON MARRIAGE. 23 

milksop, why, of course, he won't ; but you have got to get 
the right sort. And that's what you must do." 

Foyle was mollified ; he was even impressed. He resumed 
his seat, and, after a pause, he asked with some hesitation : 

"Don't you think it would be better for you to take up 
Thresher's share? " 

To which Cope replied with exasperating decision : 

" The man who marries your daughter will do that." 

Foyle shuddered as he asked : 

" xVnd where is he ? " 

" If you can't find dozens of them the young men have very 
bad taste in these days," said Cope snappishly. " If you 
can't find a young one, try an old one: and if you can't find 
anyone else, I'll marry her myself." 

"What Crawley Foyle would have done at this point if he 
had not been previously fixed by Cope's eye it is impossible to 
say, but he became ghastly pale and seemed unable to utter a 
word. In the meantime Cope rose and placidly remarked : 

" Now I come to think it over, I believe it will come to me. 
You see, Foyle, you've not got a penny, and your case is 
desperate. Desperate ills need desperate remedies. Just think 
it over. I'm going to bed." 

With this homily Cope poured out a glass of rum and drank 
it off neat. He seldom took more than one glass at a time, 
but he always took one when he could get it good ; and he 
was fond of announcing that when he was ninety he intended 
to take two. 

When Cope had left the room, Crawley Foyle set to work 
instinctively to familiarise himself with the condition of things 
suggested to him by his partner. He was an adept at personal 
justification, and in less than half-an-hour he had persuaded 
himself that it was his duty to his wife and daughter to make 
any sacrifice of their peace of mind and comfort so as to 
maintain his position in the world — all, of course, for their 
benefit and advantage. This was Crawley Foyle's notion of 
self-denial, and it was a great consolation to him to feel that 
he had the courage to do his duty, no matter how disagreeable 
the process was to others. 

It chanced then that when in the course of the next day 
Crawley Foyle discovered that a breach had occurred between 



24 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



his daughter and David Thresher, he regarded the incident not 
only with equanimity, but as the ordinary development of the 
new order of events decreed by fate, and foreseen by Cope. 
It was only natural that he should nourish on the basis of this 
incident a profound admiration for his partner's prescience, in 
the contemplation of which he was relieved of all concern for 
the complementary infelicity arising out of the occurrence, and 
was disposed to encourage a feeling of gratitude for what had 
happened. This feeling was enhanced on learning that Isabel 
and her mother had resolved to go to Brighton. 




CHAPTEE IV 

A THREAD OF LIFE. 

"I think it will be nice at Brighton," said Mrs. Foyle, 
settling in the cushions as the train moved off. " It will be 
quiet." And the look of trouble that habitually contracted 
her face passed away and left her brow smooth. 

" Yes," said Isabel, with a frown, "we shall be away from 
everybody — rid of the nuisances ; " but her brow was not free 
from trouble. A look of dark resolution enshrouded it — a look 
such as hate could grow from. 

Isabel had received her first check in life, and the trouble 
was all the greater since it was her first. All pleasure and 
pain, all joy and grief are comparative ; and the first real trial 
of a strong nature, no matter how trivial comparatively, is 
terrible in its comprehensiveness. It convulses, distorts, 
uproots, and scatters ; it defies reason, scouts advice, and 
absolutely prefers immolation. This shock of Isabel's was 
like the shock of death. The ideal of her secret musings had 
been shattered. Created out of the domestic error in the 
midst of which she lived, nurtured by a clear perception 
of the causes of her mother's unhappiness, and her father's 
gigantic failure in all that makes life worth having, and 
coming almost to fruition in the love offered to her by David 
Thresher, the blow was the more fearful. Its force may 
be measured by the fact that so far as Isabel was concerned, 
it destroyed all. She was not conscious of the possession of 
a single hope, so far as the world was concerned, left to 
her to cherish and anticipate. It had been made more 
clear to her beyond dispute that domestic happiness was 
impossible in the nature of things, that the dominating 
selfishness, the restless, but unfruitful effort, the persistent 
lie of her father's life, were but typical of the lives of the 
majority of men, as her mother's constant apprehension 
and abject submission were typical of the lives of the 
majority of women. The fact that in Society she found a 
calm surface in most households, rippled only by smiles and 



26 GOLDEN LIVES. 

perfect courtesy, was the confirmation of her theory, because 
she knew that nothing else was shown the world in their own 
household. She concluded that the cause was inherent in 
man, and she doubted her strength to withstand a force that 
seemed all-pervading and irresistible. 

Had she loved it might have been otherwise ; but she had 
not. She had merely thought she loved. Companionship 
with David Thresher was pleasant, agreeable, enjoyable ; but 
it had not become a passion. Absence had not become painful, 
and, therefore, separation was not torture. Her love had not 
gone beyond the theoretical stage, and the wound sbe had 
received was a wound of the mind rather than of the heart. 
Still it was none the less terrible, for it had destroyed all there 
was to kill. Her imagination could conceive of no alternative 
to resistance, so far as resistance was possible, and endurance 
when resistance became fruitless. But she was conscious of 
enormous capacity for resistance, and its first form was a 
more passionate determination to procure ease for her mother. 

It was only natural that she should have felt herself 
desperately ill-used by fate. She had not yet learnt that the 
sum of our pleasures is enormously greater than the sum of 
our pains even amongst the very miserable. She was about 
to learn that the epochs of our lives are in most cases marked 
by pain, not because pain is the more abundant, but because it 
is sudden. It is in the nature of pleasure to be slow of growth 
and smooth in endurance, while pain results from coming 
against the snags and tenter hooks of life. Our pleasures are 
like the imperceptible blending of choice colours. 

Crawley Foyle rented the lower portion of a large house at the 
corner of a street in the western part of Brighton, the property 
of Miss Winscomb, an elderly lady of small means and great 
expectations, who occupied the upper part. The arrangement 
had much to recommend it to both parties. It was economical 
to the one, profitable to the other, and convenient to both. 
Brighton to Mrs. Boyle was a refuge, and to Miss Winscomb 
her first floor was in the nature of a hermitage. Miss 
Winscomb reserved the upper floors to be out of the damp 
and she had double windows to be free from draught for she 
desired to inherit the accumulations of the great L d 
Warehouse Tontine Association. Her sitting-room °1 ^ 



A THBEAP OF LIFE. 27 

straight and formal, was full of old fashioned straight-backed 
furniture of the last century and on the walls were hung 
sundry black effigies which did duty for likenesses in the early 
part of this. 

The old lady usually reclined on a couch placed before the 
window on her left hand and with a square table on her right. 
She was rather tall and must have been graceful in her youth. 
Her face still retained a winning smile and her manner was 
uniformly cheerful even to gaiety. Her dress was plain with 
the exception of a marvellously constructed cap, which rose 
above her forehead a good three inches, and enclosed two dark 
brown curls one on each side of her face. She also wore black 
lace mittens, and a white lace shawl pinned by a brooch con- 
taining a miniature. Altogether her appearance was striking and 
almost imposing. She was essentially a survival of the antique. 

She was conducted to her couch from her adjoining bedroom 
by two attendants, Martha and Mary. Martha was about 
eighty, and quite ten years her senior. She had nursed her as 
a child, and lived with her ever since, until she had become a 
round-shouldered, cadaverous old woman, decorated with a 
brown hair front, which was held on by a narrow piece of 
ribbon velvet, and surmounted by an enormous white cap with 
frills. She wore, also, a little red shawl, and a print dress of 
sombre pattern and scanty skirts. She shook with a sort of 
palsy ; but the sense of physical weakness, engendered by the 
constant jerking of her head, was wholly dissipated by a 
remarkably keen glance, and a very severe cast of countenance 
that indicated suspicion. Her companion, Mary, was her niece, 
and being not more than fifty-two, and only a score of years 
in Miss "Winscomb's service, she was not felt to be altogether 
trustworthy. Her duties ended as soon as Miss Winscomb was 
safely placed on her couch, and Martha's special duty began. 

''You're quite well this morning, miss, I hope?" said 
Martha, arranging a sofa blanket over Miss Winscomb's feet. 

'' Perfectly well, Martha, thank you." 

Martha gave her a sharp look, as if she doubted her, then 
shambled across the room to a cupboard, from which she 
brought a smelling bottle, two pairs of spectacles, a handbell, a 
Bible, a Prayer Book, a watch in its stand, a Moore's 
Almanack, a peerage, and the last copy of liclVs Weekly 



28 GOLDEN LIVES. 

Messenger. Having placed these on the table on Miss 
Winscomb's right hand, Martha rested with her hands on 
the table, and made a searching examination of Miss 
Winscomb's countenance, shaking her head with all the more 
violence since she kept her eyes fixed upon her. 

" Well, Martha ? " said Miss "Winscomb. 

" You're nicely now, Miss ? " 

" Very much so, Martha, thank you." 

" Well, I may go then ? " 

" Yes, thank you, Martha." 

And Martha shambled away, having gone through the 
morning formula that had been the rule for at least twenty 
years, almost without variation. Service was life to Martha, 
and though there was not much of it left to her, imagination 
made a great deal of it and she conscientiously felt that but for 
her watchfulness Miss Winscomb would have been dead and 
buried years before. 

There was a ring at the bell as she opened the door, an 
unusual occurrence that required special vigilance. 

" A ring, Miss," she said, in her hollow voice, " I must see 
what it is." 

"I see, Martha," said Miss Winscomb, who had a looking- 
glass which commanded the front door. " It's Mrs. Foyle and 
Isabel, I do declare. How delightful ! " 

" You won't see them, will you, Miss ? " 

" Yes, to be sure I will." 

" You're sure you're quite strong enough?" 

" Perfectly." ' 

" I must tell Miss Isabel not to stay long." 

" I'll see to that, Martha." 

"It's morning now, and you must think of nine to-night," 
said Martha, leaning on a chair at Miss Winscomb's back as 
she spoke. She shook very much and looked terribly fierce ; 
and when Miss Winscomb said : " Very well Martha " she 
shook the more, and then shambled out of the room 

The lower floor was a marked contrast to Miss Winscomb's. 
The furniture was modern and luxurious. Easy chairs of 
every variety were placed about the drawing-room inviting 
repose. Seats for two were fitted to the windows and low 
couches with yielding cushions were arranged in shady nooks 



A THREAD OE LIFE. 



29 



for rest or conference. The curtains, the decorations, and the 
ornaments were of the Oriental type ; the whole aspect of the 
place was restful, and, having regard to the exterior panorama, 
admirably adapted to dissipate sombre thoughts. 

Within an hour of her arrival Mrs. Foyle was seated at the 
window watching the sea and the pier and the people who 
loved to dress five times a day and show themselves to one 
another, and she felt quite at rest. Isabel was writing a letter. 
She had come to the conclusion that the brief interview 
between her and David Thresher needed expanding into a 
plain declaration. A suspicion had arisen in her mind that 
her action had been a trifle hasty, and the bare possibility that 
she could have been wrong, or that she might be thought to 
be wrong, incited her to prove that she was incontestibly right. 
She had no thought of retracting — -only of justification ; so 
she wrote to David Thresher expounding the position, setting 
forth the fact that she meant what she had said, and could 
accept from him nothing but absolute surrender. It was a 
cold letter, without a syllable suggestive of pleading. With 
passionate iteration she wrote : 

" The man who marries me must be wholly mine. There 
must not be a single crook or crank in his mind or heart or 
soul, that he is not ready and anxious to lay before me. I care 

not if it be crooked. I 
could forgive anything, 
even crime ; but I will not 
tolerate concealment. The 
hypocrisy of affection is 
the blackest curse that 
ever blighted human life." 
There was a light tap 
at the door as she wrote 
this, and Martha appeared. 
"My dooty, miss," she 
said, with her head waving 
about, " and mistress sends 
her compliments, and 
would be glad to see you, if convenient, at any time." 

This was the official message, and it was followed by a 
personal rejoinder that mistress was not strong, that she took 




30 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



a cup of tea at four o'clock, and that she hoped Miss Foyle 
would be good enough to remember not to tire her ; all of 
which was delivered with great earnestness of purpose, and 
much physical contortion, holding on by the door. 

The message gave a fresh turn to Isabel's thoughts. A 
chat with Miss Winscomb was always pleasant, and the mere 
prospect of it was cheering. She put the letter aside unfinished, 
and resolved to go at once. 

"Ah! my dear," exclaimed Miss Winscomb. "It's a fine 
thing to be young and strong, and a very fine thing indeed to 
have the world before you, for it's a grand and beautiful world 
for those who know how to enjoy it." 

All this was said in a high key, with a sort of frolicsome air 
that filled Martha with alarm, which faithfully reflected itself 
in her gruesome countenance as she left the room. 

" It's delightful to hear you say that," said Isabel, with a 
smile, " because " 

"Because what?" 

" Well, because you ought to know, having had experience, 
and because one doesn't always think so — at least, I don't." 

" Ah ! my dear, that's because you're too serious. Believe 
me, my dear, you should never be serious if you can help it. 
I never am, not even when I've got the rheumatism, and I'm 
seventy-two." 

" Have you never been serious ? " 

" Never, my dear ; but then you know I was 
a great flirt, and enjoyed myself amazingly 
I was never hit but once, and that was with 
cousin Percy. A handsome man was cousin 
Percy. There's an ivory miniature of him 
on the wall." 

The portrait represented a man of the old 
school— high collar, and black satin stock, but 
with a profusion of curly, brown hair. 

" The very image of the Duke of York, my 
dear. He was hand and glove with the Duke. He lent ^ 
Duke money, you know, but I never heard that he got it back ' 

" Perhaps he never expected it." 

" Very likely not, but," added the old lady w j t h dienitv 
" we always considered it a great mark of the Duke's esteem of 




A THREAD OF LIFE. 31 

cousin Percy, that he should put himself under an obligation 
to him." 

There was a pause ; and then the old lady added with a sigh : 

" Ah me, I should have married cousin Percy, but he broke 
his neck hunting." 

" That was very sad," said Isabel. 

" Yes, indeed, but it made all the rest more charming by 
contrast. - ' 

" Then tell me, Miss Winscomb, do you feel you are happier 
for not having married." 

" That, my dear, is what I cannot tell, because I don't know. 
I have never been able to make up my mind ; and besides, I 
could never think of marrying anyone but cousin Percy. I 
never liked men, except to tease them and make fools of them, 
which I could do, you know my dear, very easily. I always 
thought men very foolish and very insincere." 

" So do I, insincere," said Isabel, with stern decision. 

Miss AVinscomb lifted up her mittened hands, and exclaimed : 

" Oh ! my dear, you're very serious — far too serious for 
happiness in any circumstances." 

" Well, dear Miss Winscomb, I am serious because the world 
is not as bright to all of us — as it has been to you." 

" It's as bright as you will let it be ; but if you scratch and 
bite it, it will scratch and bite back. I've smiled on it, and 
been pleasant with it, and it has smiled back to me." 

" Then you must have had cheerful people about you." 

" Oh, yes, always cheerful ; that's essential." 

" But suppose you see wrong and injustice being done, would 
you not fight it ? " 

" Dear me ! no, my dear : I should get away from it as soon 
as possible." 

" But suppose the evil is among those of your own household 
—what then ? " 

" That, I must admit, would be a serious difficulty; but I 
should have ordered them to behave, and they would have 
obeyed me." 

Miss Winscomb said this with an airy confidence and a 
coquettish shake of the head that inspired belief. Then she 
added : 

" You, my dear, could do the same." 



82 GOLDEN LIVES. 

Isabel smiled incredulously, rose up and walked to and fro. 
" We can do a great deal with those whom we choose to work 
upon," said she, " but we cannot change a person's nature. 
We can mould clay, but it must be clay, not granite rock." 

"Ah," said Miss Winscomb whimsically, regarding the 
stately form, the noble head, and flashing eye of her visitor. 
" You don't know your strength my dear. If you only bad 
the will you could melt 'em with your eyes alone, even if they 
were adamant. Yes, yes," she said, and nodded her head 
with perfect self composure. 

There was, however, a difficulty in the way of Isabel's com- 
prehending and reciprocating the old lady's view of her future. 
Isabel had a set of hard facts to deal with, and, whether she 
pleased or not, she was driven by her imperious nature to 
deal with them. She had come by a long process of intro- 
spection to feel angry with the circumstances in which she 
found herself ; and although she possessed all the qualification 
for dangerous flirtation, she resisted the disposition, and seldom 
went beyond natural gaiety Mere flirtation did not gratify 
her. The reduction of any number of admirers to a condition 
of hopeless slavery merely for amusement will not satisfy a 
reasonable ambition, which must have some definite and more 
enduring object in view The old lady's panegyric was, 
therefore, acceptable to Isabel only in a modified degree. It 
pleased but did not satisfy her. 

A sharp rap at the door was followed by the appearance 
of Martha, who gyrated to the chair behind Miss Winscomb, 
and, when firmly established, glared at Isabel, as she repeated 
the daily formula : 

"Are you ready for your beef tea, ma'am? It's time you had it." 

" In five minutes, Martha." 

" I hope you're not tiring yourself," was the response, with 
another more fierce glare at Isabel 

"No, Martha." 

" Think of nine o'clock," she added with determination, and 
shook herself out. 

The spectacle was a strange one. For nearly seventy years 
had the elder woman fought against the ills of life that 
threatened the one precious thread of her peculiar rare 
and now she resented with bitterness any interposition that 



A THREAD OF LIFE. 



33 



she feared might prevent fruition. East winds and damp, 
dangerous excursions, and the terrors associated with the ball- 




room, had all been in turn the occasion of solicitude. Though 
impaired and threatened the life still held on, and every hour 
was fought for and every enemy was fought against. To the 
extent that she had had a long interview, Isabel was an enemy, 
and Martha, in almost vindictive accents, said, when Isabel left : 
" I don't like her looks, Miss Foyle. She's flushed, and it's 
a bad sign. We shall have trouble." 




D 



CHAPTEB V 

JOSHUA COPE AS PEOVIDENCE. 

Mb. Crawley Foyle was in trouble. His partner had him 
in his grip ; and it was part of the nature of Cope never to let 
go. Cope used to tell him that he was a sort of Providence to 
him, kept him within bounds, showed him when he had gone 
far enough, now and then lifted him out of the quagmire in 
which his imprudence had landed him, and sometimes let him 
flounder out by himself into a state of moral rectitude. If he 
thought Providence was not smart enough in keeping his partner 
straight he was not above lending a hand, and occasionally he 
would scheme out a pitfall of his own, or add a little difficulty 
by way of finish to the trials that naturally developed from 
Crawley Foyle's imprudence. But whatever the preliminary 
stages of his partner's troubles the conclusion was always the 
same. Whenever Kuin stared Crawley Foyle in the face, 
Joshua Cope was always behind Euin, grinning complacently 
with his hands in his pockets, quite able to relieve his partner, 
but not always willing to do so, except at a price. 

These situations satisfied Cope's sense of humour. Schrieber 
and Company was no pleasure to him, unless Mr. Crawley 
Foyle, M.P., was heavily overdrawn on his partnership 
account, in terror for his seat in the House of Commons, 
and in mortal fear of the destruction of his social position 
and the dissipation of his social aspirations. Then he would 
grin and drink rum and smoke strong cigars all day long, 
and make horrible faces with his scar all red and blue— a 
sort of inexorable Providence, bent on stern justice and the 
reform of its victim. 

Providence had been pressing hard on Mr. Crawley Foyle 
for about a week, and the effect on him was peculiar. He 
was louder in the voice, more thorough going in his denuncia- 
tion of political opponents, reviled the Government abused 
his own whips, knew the Country was going to the dogs swore 
the cooks of the earth were in league to poison him and 
generally behaved in an unreasonably boisterous and boastful 
manner. He had great schemes on foot for regenerating the 



JOSHUA COl'E AS PROVIDENCE. 35 

commercial decrepitude 01 the country, talked of millions with 
the familiarity of a man who had them, and in a way was 
excellent company for members, who were pledged to remain 
about the House for divisions and looked for diversion elsewhere 
than in the House itself. 

But when Mr. Crawley Foyle found himself alone with 
Providence in his smoking room he became a miserable shift- 
less creature, scarcely knowing which way to look or where to 
put himself — a sort of shrivelled thing, for although he made a 
pretence every now and then of putting on his denunciatory 
tone he felt it was a useless performance, and he was within an 
ace of acknowledging to himself that he was an impostor. He 
did not actually do so, but took solace in the reflection that the 
British public was very idiotic not to see the millions as clearly 
as he did. Still Providence was not taken in, and merely 
grinned through the tobacco smoke, said nothing, and 
waited. 

It was about a week after Cope had insisted upon David 
Thresher being paid out immediately that Mr. Foyle had a 
visit from a stranger, a pallid man with short red hair, a long 
black coat and a white necktie. It was Samuel Shorter, the 
confidential and familiar instrument of Cope, in the habili- 
ments of a preacher, and he assured Mr. Foyle that he came to 
him as a Christian. He sought him at the House of Com- 
mons about five o'clock one afternoon and sent a note to him 
to bring him out. The note was a highly finished production. 
It was designed to excite the greatest possible concern in the 
mind of the recipient coupled with appreciation of the benevo- 
lence of the writer. It said : — 

"Dear Sir, — I approach you from a sense of duty. 
Although not personally acquainted with you I have in the 
course of my ministrations become acquainted with facts of the 
most alarming character for your peace of mind, and your 
domestic reputation. I refer to an act of your son's — no doubt 
concealed from you, but now unfortunately on the eve of being 
bruited on the house tops. I await you in the lobby, and am, 
" Believe me, 

" Your devoted friend in Christ, 

" Samuel Shobteb." 

d '2 



36 GOLDEN LIVES. 

As a politician, Crawley Foyle was a supporter of the great 
Mr. Hayter, leader of the Levellers, the idol of professional 
patriots, and the most popular prime minister the country had 
ever been blessed with. He had a majority of 150 over the 
Naturals in the House of Commons, and Foyle was one of his 
most advanced supporters. 

Foyle was a pronounced Leveller. He had often declared 
that he would never rest until everybody had been levelled up 
to everybody else. He would suffer no exceptions, save only 
that he felt his genius and devotion to the country's weal made 
it reasonable and proper that he should be levelled up over 
everybody except Mr. Hayter. He drew the line at the Eight 
Hon. George Eustace Hayter, because he did not see how the 
levelling process was to be carried on without his being at the 
head of everybody else. In fact it was generally admitted by 
the entire body of Levellers inside and outside the House of 
Commons that the Eight Hon. George was head and shoulders 
above everybody else on the face of the Globe, and therefore it 
was ridiculous for anybody to think of being levelled up to him. 
Indeed as long as he kept on levelling up his friends and 
levelling down his opponents every patriot applauded, arid 
only Naturals reviled. 

Foyle was not only a supporter of Mr. Hayter, he made 
politics conserve his business interests ; and it chanced at the 
time he received Shorter' s note he was engaged in assisting a 
project that was characterised by all the appearances of 
disinterested philanthropy, and at the same time remotely 
associated with the export of grey shirting. He was in fact 
waiting his turn in the House to bring on an amendment to 
Supply in the interest of the Emir of Kiboo whose domestic 
troubles seriously hampered Mr. Foyle's commerce. 

All the journals interested in distressed nationalities expressed 
great concern next morning that he had not brought it on ; and 
one, which prided itself on being " advanced," announced that 
it " had reason to believe Mr. Crawley Foyle had been seduced 
by a malignant minister from the cause of freedom, and had 
yoked himself to the car of tyranny." 

Shorter thought of demanding an apology when he saw the 
statement, and could with difficulty be persuaded that the 
reference was to the Secretary of State and not to him. His 



JOSHUA COPE AS PROVIDENCE. 



37 



grief at the situation was poignant when lie reflected that if 
he could only make out a libel it would be worth .£5,000 to 
him ; but he had always been unfortunate, and this was only 
one more blow to a crushed worm. 

Crawley Foyle burst out into the lobby like an avalanche, 




nearly overturned a peer and three county members in con- 
versation with a Parliamentary Agent, and stood out all fume 



38 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



and fury with the letter in his hand, waiting to be approached 
by the writer. 

Shorter advanced, hat in hand. He was much impressed 
with the company in which he found himself, but kept his 
mind fixed on the purpose of his visit. 

" I trust, Sir," he said, " you will excuse my intrusion." 

" Excuse you, my dear Sir ? A thousand thanks ! Come 
this way." 

He led him in the direction of the library, then past the 
tea-room, down stairs to the basement, and out on to the 
terrace, a safe place to avoid intrusion at five in the afternoon. 

" Now, Sir, what is it ? Tell me all — everything. Keep 
nothing back." 

Shorter seated himself beside the member, and clasping his 
hands upon his umbrella, he said : 




" I was speaking with a friend ol mine, Sir, who is under 
obligations to me, and he sometimes asks my advice." 

" Yes, yes." 

" Well, Sir, he is a bill discounter, and he has in his hands a 
bill of your firm's— Schrieber & Co., for £2,000, accepted by 
the hand of your son." 

" Good God ! " exclaimed Mr. Crawley Foyle, with every 
symptom of consternation, while Shorter regarded him 



JOSHUA COPE AS PEOVIDENCE. 39 

passively, still resting his hands on his umbrella, and noting in 
his cautious way the effect of his words. 

" But that is not all," said he, warming to his work. 
" My friend is concerned for you, because he believes this 
is not a bill of your firm's at all, but a means your son has had 
recourse to to raise funds for private purposes." 

"How does he dare surmise that?" asked Mr. Crawley 
Foyle roused to indignation. 

Shorter cringed, but recovering said : " Because on enquiry 
he finds it is not the custom of your firm to give bills." And 
then he added with a meaning look that should have alarmed 
the member to a sense of special danger: "He says it's 
embezzlement, not forgery." 

" Ten thousand furies seize him," exclaimed the member. 
"Who is he?" 

" Excuse me," said the messenger of peace, shrinking further- 
away from his questioner, " I have all this in confidence, and 
unless you permit me to respect confidences I have nothing 
more to do or say. I can give no names, but the exact 
amount of the bill is two thousand, two hundred and 
seventy-five pounds ten." 

"Oh," groaned the prop of ministers and the hope of 
the Emir of Kiboo, "the bitter dregs of the cup of misery 
are mine ! " Then turning on the patient instrument beside 
him, he exclaimed : "It's a lie, a foul he. You know it's 
a lie." 

"No, no," gasped Shorter retreating. "The very simple 
truth ; but I have no wish to say another word. I've been a 
messenger of ill, but my motive is good, believe me, Sir, I wish 
you no ill." 

The member groaned again. " When's the bill due? " 

" This day week." 

" Oh Lord ! You can get possession of this bill before it's 
presented ? " 

" Yes, sir ; that is I can get my friend to bring it or send it 
to you." 

" Then give me your address. I'll write to you. I'm 
not angry- I am moved, Sir, astounded, alarmed by what 
you say. I will enquire and write to you. Accept my 
thanks." 



40 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



The member had recovered his external equanimity ; he saw 
his visitor out of the building and returned to the House to find 
it in Committee of Supply That he had been false to the Emir 
of Kiboo was only one more burden upon his miserable soul, 
and he left the House in a state of violent emotion, without 
having once imagined that the hand of Providence was in this 
grinding turn of the screw. 




CHAPTER VI. 



CRAWLEY FOYLE AS A POLITICIAN AND A FATHER. 




Arthur Foyle was the natural 
result of his parentage and the cir- 
cumstances of his childhood. Selfish 
without ambition, handsome without 
character, vain without self-respect, 
he went his reckless way, the idol 
of his mother, the enemy of his 
father, and the scorn of his sister. 
He was capable of anything, however 
despicable, to secure the gratification 
of a whim. He felt it was a part of 
the economy of nature that he should 
have what he wanted. His mother 
had as good as taught him to think so by the satisfaction of 
every wish of his childhood, and his sole conception of his father 
was that of a being to be avoided. He was younger than 
Isabel, and being naturally cruel and vindictive, he excited 
her aversion by tormenting her, and destroyed her sympathy 
by the exactions he made upon their mother's patience. Before 
he was twenty, he set up an establishment of his own, in a 
street off Piccadilly, and as soon as he was taken into partner- 
ship by Sehrieber & Co., he seldom visited his mother, and 
never even her unless he wanted money- 
Still, women thought him handsome and men also, when 
the devil hid behind his bright blue eyes and careless 
laugh, and this was when he had what he wanted and all 
things went to his liking. He was a splendid fellow when 
his bookmaker had the worst of it and his purse was full, 
when brandy and soda and cigarettes followed each other in 
harmonious succession, and none of the parasites who battened 
on him smiled on other lords. But when things were 
otherwise, his mouth went down at the corners and a film 
came over his eyes. Every line in his face was set in callous 
cruelty, and at such times murder would have been an act of 
kind with him. 



42 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



It was this ill-conditioned result of weakness, neglect and 
ambition that Crawley Foyle was bent on saving, not that he 
loved his son, but because he loved himself. It would never 
do for Schrieber & Co. in its corporate capacity to know about 
the accommodation bill, which ought never to have been 
drawn. Things must be put straight, and there was no time 
to lose. 

Most indignant parents would have gone to the originators 
of the crucial trouble, but Mr. Foyle knew better. His 
talented son was enjoying an excellent dinner in company 
with two elegant examples of modern youth at the Hotel 
Bristol. They were all made up after the same pattern, with 




their hair cut very short and parted in the middle, with small 
moustaches very much waxed, an inch and a half of whisker, 
and amazingly high collars, that forbade stooping or laughter. 
They were exquisites of the most approved type, wonderful to 
behold and thoroughly well satisfied with themselves. They 
contemplated engaging in that miserable travesty of pleasure, a 
visit to the Carara — a popular music hall — and thereafter taking 
supper at 11.30 with a trio of the ballet. Mr. Foyle, senior, 
knew there was nothing to be done with a son whose soul's 
ambition was satisfied only with Burlesque, and to whom the 
grimy precincts of a stage-door were the very vestibule of 
Heaven. 



CRAWLEY FOYLE AS A POLITICIAN AND A FATHER. 43 

Mr. Crawley Foyle, M.P., came to a desperate resolution. 
He left the Eight Hon. Mr. Hayter and the Emir of Kiboo 
both in the lurch, broke through the guard of whips in the 
lobby, and set out for the first convenient train to Brighton. 
He went via the Reform Club, where he fortified himself with a 
thick point steak, underdone, a mealy potato, and a pint of old 
port. This was Mr. Foyle's invariable recipe for strengthening 
his physical powers when about to wrestle with an antagonist 
or revive an exhausted frame. It meant strength and vitality 
to him ; yet it was simple and easily digested. Mr. Foyle 
went about the steak methodically. The undertaking he was 
upon was serious, and he felt the commanding necessity of 
unusual strength. He was less an impostor to himself on 
occasions of this sort than at any other time. Indeed, in 
proportion to the magnitude of his undertaking, he became 
honest in his musings; but it was then also his cunning 
predominated, and thus he became a more dangerous impostor 
to others. 

He gave precise instructions about that steak, had it brought 
up to him before being cooked, acknowledged it to be perfection, 
sent a supplementary message to the cook to grill it as for 
himself, for he knew his taste, and then retired into a corner 
to muse and scheme. 

This did not surprise the club servants. An incident of the 
kind had occurred before, and the head waiter associated the 
peculiarity on this occasion with the lapsed motion about the 
Emir of Kiboo. When Mr. Foyle dined before the dinner- 
hour off a rump steak, there was something in the wind. 
That was an accepted tradition of the Reform Club ; and 
although eccentric, Mr. Foyle's demands were respected, and 
even commanded precedence. 

Mr. Foyle ate the steak in solemn silence — not hurriedly, but 
with steady persistence, revelled in the mealy potatoes, a piece 
of stale bread with some black crisp crust on it, began on the 
port wine when half through, and finished solemnly with one 
full glass. No cheese, no dessert, no anything to disturb 
the invigorating force of this powerful tonic for a strong 
man. 

He left the club with satisfied composure, took the hansom 
cab that always stands at the door of the Reform, and drove to 



44 GOLDEN LIVES. 

a telegraph office. The message was for his daughter, and 
ran : 

" Meet me railway station nine o'clock. Do not tell anyone 
I am coming." 

Then he went to the train, had a carriage to himself, and 
turned the whole matter over in his mind as he went down, 
settled exactly what lies he would tell, and where the emotion 
should come in. By the time he arrived he had worked him- 
selved into a somewhat dishevelled condition, and was 
conscious that his eye was a little wild and the left-hand 
corner of his mouth a little bit constrained. Crawley Foyle 
was a master of facial expression, and seldom overdid it. He 
was, however, anxious on this occasion, for he had to perform 
before an unusually critical audience. 

Isabel was standing on the platform as the train drew up. 
Her father saw her from behind the curtains, and he was slow 
to alight. When Isabel approached him as he stumbled 
heavily from the carriage she thought him aged and certainly 
much disturbed. In an anxious hollow voice he said : 

" Thanks, Isabel, you haven't told your mother? " 

"No." 

" Where is she ? " 

" She was tired, and I persuaded her to go to bed an hour 
ago." 

" All," said her father, with a heavy sigh, " then we can go 
home." 

She felt his arm tremble as they walked to the brougham 
outside ; and her sympathy rather than her apprehension was 
aroused. 

They rode home in silence, broken only by an occasional 
sigh from the devoted husband. On reaching the house, Foyle 
exhibited still greater emotion, walked with trepidation to 
the drawing-room, and sank into a chair with every sign of 
exhaustion. A cynic might have remarked that the chair was 
comfortable, but Isabel was impressed only with his dejected 
appearance and hastened to sit besides him in the hope that 
he would speak. 

He took her by the hand, and with a ghastly look he 
whispered hoarsely : 

"Isabel, my dear, we are ruined — ruined past redemption." 



CBAWLEY FOYLE AS A POLITICIAN AND A FATHEE. 45 

She understood now why her mother was not to know, and 
for the first time for years she felt gratified at an action of her 
father's. His forethought for her mother touched her, and she 
answered, 

" "Well, perhaps we can bear it. Why not ? " 

"Ah, why not?" exclaimed Foyle with a touch of 
melodrama, and roused from his prostration, he added, "because 
our ruin is associated with family disgrace. Your brother 
Arthur, — nay not your brother, that pariah, outcast, villain, 
dog who calls me father, has done it." 

" How ? " she asked. 

" Forgery, embezzlement, dissipation, infamy," he groaned 
in bitterness. 

The room was not well lighted, but the single lamp shone full 
on Isabel's face and disclosed a menacing frown upon her brow- 
Observing the effect of his eloquence, her father exclaimed : 

"Oh, I cannot bear it," and, sobbing, he went on, " all my 
hopes and ambitions shattered, all your future blighted, all 
your mother's tenderness requited by an act of infamy. And 
now we have nothing but a black and shameful future to look 
forward to." 

He sank back in his chair, and groaned again and again ; 
and with each groan he seemed to shrink within himself, all 
huddled up, and shapeless, with his hands over his face, the 
very picture of a broken-hearted man. 

Still, it must be admitted that the chair was comfortable. 
There was not a hard knob about it. It was upholstered in 
every part, — a perfect miracle of soft places and nestling springs. 
And Mr. Crawley Foyle had long before discovered that 
although the hands might cover the face, much could be seen 
by a sharp eye through the chinks between the fingers, and no 
one aught the wiser save the owner of the shielded face. 

Isabel rose and paced the room with a firm step and growing 
resolution in her manner. Presently she asked : 

"What is it he has done? Tell me plainly." 

"He has raised large sums," said Foyle feebly, "on the 
name of the firm, and spent the money in dissipation. In a 
few days my dear friend Cope — the best friend I have in the 
world — will discover it, and then all will be lost to us." 

"What will Mr. Cope do ?" asked Isabel. 



46 GOLDEN LIVES. 

" What can he do ? I owe him large sums already. He 
cannot go on with people who rob him." 

Mr. Crawley Foyles voice quivered with emotion, as he 
continued : 

" Beside, I should not have the spirit to face him. Think 
of the dishonour. Happily, I shall be able to tell him myself. 
He will not hear of Arthur's crime first from another." 

These sublime sentiments were uttered in low tones, 
exhibiting intense feeling, and every syllable sank into Isabel's 
heart. A noble ambition was aroused within her, but the 
inspiration was barren, for as yet no path was open to her. 
Still, she felt more and more grateful that her mother was 
as yet spared the trial that appeared to be in store for them, 
and she pursued her inquiries in hopes of at least prevention 
from exposure. 

" Do you not think," said she, " that Mr. Cope, who has 
been your friend hitherto, will still be so, and assist you in 
the circumstances?" 

"How can I suffer it? Oh God! how can the thought 
be harboured?" This was apostrophised as if in meditation; 
and then followed : 

" My dear, you do not understand. It needs five and fifty 
thousand pounds this day week to enable me to meet my 
friend Cope on fair terms. The money he has got and to spare. 
He has perhaps ten times that and more — much more and if 
it were for another purpose he would give it to me freely, 
for he is generous, my dear — very generous, is Cope — but you 
see the money is needed to cover a fraud, a fraud committed 
upon him by one who has reviled and insulted him. Besides, 
it is impossible to go to him for another reason. Oh my God ! " 
exclaimed the victim of a son's unfaithfulness, " it'll kill me ! " 

" Tell me that other reason," demanded Isabel. 

He looked at her ; his hair dishevelled, his face blanched, his 
mouth half open and horror depicted in every lineament. He 
slowly shook his head and buried his face in his hands. 

" Tell me," she demanded, " something must be done ; and 
I must know all or I cannot help you. You must need my 
help or you would not have come." 

"No, no, I did not — I came because I saw no help — none 
anywhere," he gasped. 



CEAWLEY FOYLE AS A POLITICIAN AND A FATHEK. 



47 



He began to be alarmed. The situation had become 
acute and his excitement almost genuine. 

" AVhat is this other reason ? " she asked again. 

" I refrain from telling you, my dear," he answered, "only 
because I fear you would sacrifice yourself for us. It is better 
the temptation should be removed." 

A smile broke over Isabel's face, she thought for the moment 
that the allusion was to David Thresher. She fancied that his 
secret concern on the night of the dinner party had arisen from 




(£>Jo£. ©6mplAtt°7\ 



this unfortunate incident. She imagined she saw the removal of 
her own despondency and the suppression of her brother's 
crime by the same means. She almost laughed as she said : 
" Tell me, father, and let us see what the temptation is like." 
He shook his head, and then, looking her full in the face, he 
said, with an effort and with measured tones : 

" Cope has sought you in marriage, and I have repulsed him 
— now do you understand ? " 



48 GOLDEN LIVES. 

Isabel did indeed understand ; and she was struck dumb. 

" Now am I right ? " asked her father. " Is it not impossible 
to approach him ? Could I think of purchasing a continuance 
of luxury and wealth and position in the political arena at the 
expense of your bright future ? No," he continued, with 
melodrama in the ascendant : " I'll be no party to so terrible a 
sacrifice." He rose as he went on, and began to pace the 
room. " I'll be no party to the blighting of a young life's hope. 
If it were not for your mother," he added, with emphasis, " I'd 
let the scoundrel go, disown him and begin life afresh." There 
was a fine dash of self-confidence in this declaration, but there 
he stopped, and with a long drawn sigh exclaimed : 

" Ah, your mother ! How I pity her ! " 

There was a pause, and then Isabel asked : 

" How old is Mr. Cope ? " 

" Seventy-two ; it's hideous." 

There was another pause, during which the Member for 
Buckton was positively anxious. He wished he hadn't said 
it was " hideous." 

" Do you think I could do any good by seeing him '?" 

"Not, unless " 

The door opened and Mrs. Foyle appeared. She had risen 
to take some medicine, and hearing her husband's voice, she 
had put on a wrapper, and come to greet him. 

" Ah, my dear," said the politician : " I wanted to get away 
from the House, and thought a night at Brighton would do 
me good." 

Next morning Isabel's mind was made up. She went to 
London with her father, and told him to send Mr. Cope to her 
next day. 

She said she had resolved to see whether something could 
not be done. What that something was, she steadfastly refused 
to say. 



CHAPTEE VII. 

A CUEIOUS ANTE-NUPTIAL CONTRACT. 

Mr. Ware, of the firm of Ware and Frost, Solicitors, Old 
Juiy, was an amiable old gentleman of short stature and few 
words. An honourable member of his profession, whose whole 
career had been devoted to keeping people out of the Law Courts, 
he was pre-eminently a man for giving good advice ; and, strange 
to say, most people took his advice when it was given. 

Mr. Ware was never in a hurry, and usually seemed 
absorbed in thought. He entered his office, a large, com- 
fortable, well-carpeted room, on a certain Wednesday morning 
with his accustomed pre-occupied air, put his umbrella in the 
stand, hung up his hat, and wiped his downy pate with a large 
silk pocket-handkerchief with care and deliberation. This 
was the formula of his actions day by day, throughout the 
year, summer and winter alike. He then walked to his table, 
with measured tread, and sat himself down in his capacious 
easy chair to read his letters. One after the other they were 
read as he opened them. The envelopes, after examination, 
he put aside, and the letters themselves he placed one above 
the other as he read them. There were twenty of them, and 
the only sign given by Mr. Ware of their comparative interest 
was a wider opening of the eyes, as he read one or two that sur- 
prised him. Having read them all, he rose up, looked out of the 
window meditatively, and blew his nose. He then returned to 
his seat, went over the letters again, and divided them into two 
sets, one of seventeen and the other of three. He then summoned 
his clerk, gave him the seventeen with the simple direction : — 

" Attend to these," and then he added, " I am expecting 
Miss Foyle at eleven ; show her in," 

The clerk withdrew, and he took up one of the three 
reserved letters to read it a second time. It was as follows : — 

" Dear Mr. Ware, 

" You have met me on several occasions at my father's 
house, and we have conversed on general subjects. I believe I 
can trust you as a friend, and rely on you as a lawyer; and as 

E 



50 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



I need some assistance in rather peculiar circumstances, I 
intend to call upon you at eleven to-morrow morning. What 
I require to be done is quite unusual and you may be indisposed 
to do it ; but if you decline, I presume I am right in supposing 
that you will regard our interview as strictly confidential. 

" Yours sincerely, Isabel Fotle." 

Mr. "Ware put the letter down, creased his forehead, pursed 
up his lips, and then opened his eyes very wide. He then 
walked slowly to the window, looked out and blew his nose. 
Mr. Ware was obviously in a state of mental congestion. What 
on earth could the daughter of his old friend, Crawley Foyle, 
want with him in the shape of confidential assistance ? The 
mystery was to be solved at eleven ; and at two minutes before 
the hour, Isabel Foyle arrived in the Old Jewry with her maid 
Jacobs, whom she left in the cab, and at eleven she was shown 



?"> 



\tfv 



«0?< 







into Mr. Ware. He received her with just the glimmer of a 
smile . 



A CURIOUS ANTE-NUPTIAL CONTRACT i) I 

" You received my letter," she asked, and Mr. Ware bowed 
as he placed a chair for her. 

"You understand the last sentence," she asked, still 
standing. 

" Perfectly," said Mr. Ware, "it is the common practice." 

" Yes," said Isabel, " so I should imagine ; but I want you 
particularly to understand that yo\i are to make no communica- 
tion to my father of any kind without my express permission." 

" Certainly," said Mr. Ware. 

" Xot even that I have been here." 

" Quite so," said the lawyer, with a genuine smile, "You 
may rely on me." 

" Xow I will sit down, and tell you what I want." 

She had been standing during this prelude and Mr. Ware had 
stood, too, listening attentively and admiring the handsome girl, 
who settled with such firmness and precision the articles of war. 
She was indeed brilliant this morning in the simplest costume 
conceivable. A plain black silk dress, and a black close-fitting 
jacket, with scarcely any trimming upon it, slate coloured 
gloves and a slate coloured hat, with one deep crimson rose in 
the front of it. 

So they sat down, and the second part of the interview was 
opened by Isabel, with equal decision. 

" It is necessary that I marry Mr. Cope," she said, " against 
my wish ; and I want you to draw up an agreement settling 
the conditions upon which I marry, and the rules that are to 
be observed by him towards me, after we are married ; and I 
desire you to prepare this agreement at once, that I may 
present it to Mr. Cope to-morrow for his signature." 

Mr. Ware was somewhat startled. There was nothing 
singular in an ante-nuptial settlement, but the turn of one or 
two of the phrases used by his client and her decisive tone, 
led him to conclude that the real point of the matter had yet 
to come ; and he was right. After looking at his client 
fixedly for an instant, he took a step, which those who knew 
him well would regard as indicating his measure of the impor- 
tance of the consultation. He removed his solitary eye-glass 
and assumed his gold spectacles. Having thus armed himself, 
he coughed slightly, and said : — 
" Let us proceed step by step." 

E 2 



52 GOLDEN LIVES. 

And he took a sheet of foolscap paper upon which he 
wrote : — 

" Isabel Foyle, spinster, to marry Cope" — "Joshua, eh?" 
he asked. 

" Yes." And then added, " Against her wish." 

" That's it, eh ? " he asked. 

"Yes." 

" Then why do you marry against your will? " 

" Not against my will, but against my wish. I do not wish 
it, but I am resolved to do it." 

"May I ask why?" 

" Yes. It is necessary in the interest of my father." 

Mr. Ware gave a little grunt, and frowned at his finger nails. 
Then be said : 

" Xow the conditions ; what are they? " 

" First, that he pays my father £55,000." 

"Fifty-five thousand pounds," said Mr. Ware, scoring it 
down. 

" Secondly, that he settles in trust, for my absolute use, a 
sum in Consols — they are quite safe, you know, Mr. Ware, 
and easily managed — sufficient to yield me .£'5, 000 a year, at 
tin 1 price to-day 

Mr. Ware looked up, with an air of astonishment and admira- 
tion : then seemed to recall himself, and said, " Precisely," and 
wrote it down. 

" Thirdly," proceeded his client — " and this is very important 
— while lie may require me to live under the same roof with 
him, we are to have separate establishments, with separate 
servants at mv option, or at his; and you must put, in the 
plainest language at your command, not permitting of the 
least equivocation, that he is not to enter the apartments 
reserved for me, on any pretext whatever, except at my express 
invitation." 

Mr. Ware again looked up. He began to feel surprised and 
opened his eyes very wide. 

"To make it fair," said his client, "you may make that 



provision reciprocal.' 
" Oh ! " said Mr. 
irther?" 
"Yes. I am to bind myself to appear in public with him 



"Oh!" said Mr. Ware, and wrote it down, " anvthine 
further?" ' J ■ & 



A CURIOUS ANTE-NUPTIAL CONTRACT. 5:5 

lor not more than three hours once in each week at his request, 
in addition to attendance, with him, at Church, on Sunday, if 
desired." 

"In public, three hours each week, other than Church 
Sunday," wrote Mr. Ware, who had ceased to be surprised, 
and having finished, he looked up enquiringly. 

" Xothing more," said his client, looking down some brief 
memoranda, " except generally that I am to be mistress of my 
own actions, and am to visit and be visited at my own 
discretion." 

Mr. Ware noted this general clause, and then put down his 
pen. He looked very grave, pushed his chair a little way 
back, and frowned at his finger nails. Isabel waited ; she did 
not appear to be anxious, but she was very earnest and 
determined with her large eyes fixed steadfastly on the 
face of the little lawyer. Presently he looked up and 
said : 

" Do you wish my opinion on this proposed agreement? " 

" Yes, please." 

" Then it is my duty to inform you, Miss Foyle, that it 
would not hold good." 

"Why?" 

" Because its conditions are repugnant to the purposes of 
marriage ; because its conditions, if observed, would frustrate 
the object of marriage." 

" But I want to frustrate it," said Isabel, with vehemence. 

"Precisely, but assuming it signed, your husband could act, 
and I believe, would act, as if these domestic conditions were 
non-existent. Do you understand me ? " 

" Quite ; but I am not afraid of being unable to enforce 
them. The question I want you to answer is : Can these con- 
ditions be put into legal shape? " 

"Oh, yes ; but what we have to consider is the question as 
to the utility of putting into legal shape conditions that are 
inconsistent with the law of the land." 

" That gives me no concern," said Isabel, with much satis- 
faction. " I only want the document signed." 

Mr. Ware became still more grave ; he clasped the arms of 
his chair, and frowned at the notes he had made for a minute 
or two, and then said : 



54 GOLDEN LIVES. 

" There is something more I should say, and I presume you 
would like me to speak frankly and quite openly, as if you 
were my daughter, say. I have daughters — five of them," 
and Mr. Ware sighed. 

" Do please speak quite plainly to me, and say all you can 
think of. I should like it so much better than any reserve." 

Isabel spoke with much earnestness, but throughout she 
preserved a light and cheerful manner. She exhibited no 
trace of grief, or regret, or fear. She had made up her mind 
to act on a plan that she felt to be the best, and she was 
determined to carry it through. She negotiated with Mr. 
Ware as if she were representing a third person, so free was 
she from anything approaching to emotion. Mr. Ware 
remarked this, and could not reconcile it with the extra- 
ordinary proposals she made, and he felt greatly perplexed. 
Presently he turned his chair slightly round, and after a little 
cough said : 

" Miss Foyle, let us begin at the beginning." 

Isabel nodded a dainty little nod, as much as to say, " That's 
best," and Mr. Ware proceeded. 

" You have no affection for Mr. Cope ? " 

" How can you ask, Mr. Ware ? Have you seen him ? " 

" Yes," said the lawyer quietly, " but we must begin at the 
beginning." 

" Oh ! that reminds me. You begin your deeds with a 
' Whereas ' don't you ? Then you must begin this with 
' Whereas, Mr. Cope and I, having agreed to go through the 
ceremony of marriage, and whereas I have no sort of affection 
for my intended husband, and never expect to have anything 
but aversion to him, it is agreed,' you know, just as you have 
put down." 

Mr. Ware's countenance assumed a still more perplexed air. 
He shook his head and sighed, and wondered how he could get 
all these preposterous proposals wrapped up in decent legal 
formula, so as to disguise their horrible import. He would 
have preferred to decline the work on the ground that a lawyer 
with a reputation could not consent to draw up an illegal 
deed ; but while he feared that he might ultimately have so to 
determine, he resolved to try his utmost to serve his charming 
client. He accordingly proceeded : 



A CURIOUS ANTE-NUPTIAL CONTRACT. 55 

"A\ell, now, let us consider," he said, "you observe that 
Mr. Cope is to agree to pay £55,000 and a sum to yield £5,000 
a year. That will make a total of over £200,000." 

Isabel nodded assent. 

" But do you observe, my dear young friend, that you propose 
there a very brutal sale and barter of yourself in marriage for 
so much hard cash ? " 

"Yes, that is quite clear." 

"And is it not a very unworthy and dishonouring trans- 
action," added Mr. Ware, with warmth. 

"Very much so." 

" Then why describe it in such a bold manner ? " 

"Because I want its boldness and brutality to appear," she 
answered with rising passion. " Because I want it on record, 
signed by his own hand, that he entered into this arrangement 
with his eyes open, and that if he does not see it is dishonour- 
able, that is his fault." 

"But what of you? Will it not be dishonourable to 
you?" 

" No," she answered. " He will know that I am consenting 
from a cause that is honourable to me, because it is self- 
sacrificing." 

" Does he not know already ? " 

" No, he has not yet asked me, and when he does at eleven 
to-morrow, I shall give him this deed as my answer." 

" Now, I have one more thing to say : you say you propose 
to do this injury to yourself in the interest of your father. I 
do not know the circumstances, but I must say to you, 
that the motive is insufficient. I can conceive of no circum- 
stances that would justify such a sacrifice ; and I am your 
father's solicitor." 

Mr. Ware looked at his client, almost sternly, as he said 
this, but she answered with decision : 

" I quite agree with you. The circumstances which make 
this step necessary, are not known to you, and cannot be 
made known. If you knew them you would agree that the 
motive was sufficient." 

Mr. Ware listened with increased amazement, and gave up 
the riddle, but he added : 

"I will not intrude my advice upon you, nor urge you to 



56 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



disclose matters you prefer to keep to yourself; but I cannot 
resist repeating that, in my opinion, nothing can justify the 
sacrifice you propose." 

" I am much obliged, Mr. Ware, for your kindness and con- 
sideration ; but the sacrifice is not so very great. I feel that 
it means possibly ten years of my life ; and that, Mr. Ware, 
I can afford to give." 




CHAPTEE VIII. 

SOME REMAKKABLY PLAIN SPEAKING. 

Some people pride themselves on always speaking their 
mind, which in practice means that they are proud of an 
inclination to make themselves very disagreeable. In the case 
of Joshua Cope the disposition had been steadily cultivated 
upon a foundation of financial prosperity, and resulted in an 
absolute disregard of everybody else's feelings. It is probable 
that a good deal of the courtesy one meets with in our every- 
day world is nothing more nor less than the language of 
conciliation. In some cases it may be regarded almost as 
the language of fear ; and certainly very much of it would be 
changed to indifference or positive rudeness if subordination or 
expectation of advantage were exchanged for complete indepen- 
dence. This psychological truth was illustrated by the change 
which Cope achieved in his manner when he came into the 
presence of Isabel Foyle in the character of a suppliant. There 
was no brutality, no rudeness, not even brusqueness in his 
attitude. He was bent on achieving a purpose — the supplant- 
ing of David Thresher — old and ugly as he knew he was ; he 
was bent on the complete eradication of Thresher from every 
spot that he had chosen as his own through which Joshua 
Cope had a path. His manner was therefore studiously con- 
ciliatory and almost polished. The plain speaking was all on 
the other side, and it was very plain. 

Cope advanced towards Isabel with the air of a diplomatist 
as she stood in the drawing-room ready to receive him. His 
step was almost dignified, and his dress and manner, although 
not polished, were at least appropriate. With his hand placed 
within his waistcoat, not actually on his heart, but suggestively 
within the region of it, he bowed as he said : 

" I have come, Miss Foyle, in obedience to an intima- 
tion from your father, who said you were willing to receive 

me." 

Isabel bowed stiffly as she stood with a letter in bur hand. 
She had risen from her writing-table to receive him. 



58 GOLDEN LIVES. 

Mr. Cope continued : 

" Your father, Miss Foyle, gave me some hope that you 
were disposd to accede to my request." 

He looked at her with a keen firm look as he spoke, and 
then bowed again, still with his hand in his waistcoat. 

" What is that request ? " 

" The honour of your hand." 

This time Isabel bowed, and then, as coldly as before, she 
answered : 

" Your words are well chosen, Mr. Cope. You ask for my 
hand —nothing more." 

She paused. Her face blanched, and it seemed doubtful 
whether she had not over-estimated her strength. Cope listened 
with a respectful attitude, but his eyes glistened with watchful 
excitement. He said nothing, and Isabel continued : 

" My father prepared me for this request, and he has made 
known to me circumstances that induce me to give you my 
hand, but I can give nothing more — nor even that, except upon 
conditions which you may decline to accept." 

Cope bowed, as he said : 

" I shall be pleased to consider those conditions." 

" I do not wish you," she continued, " to be under any 
misapprehension as to my motives or the feelings that I have 
towards you. I do not want to disguise from you that if I 
accept your proposals it is from a desire to please and benefit 
my family, and in no sense to gratify you ; and that the feeling 
of ordinary respect for you as one of my father's friends is the 
utmost that I can ever hope to entertain towards you. Any 
attempt on your part to pass beyond the ordinary courtesies of 
a public dining or drawing-room would be received by me 
with repugnance, and my respect for you would be destroyed. 
I am content to marry you in the eyes of the world ; but as 
between ourselves we must be mere acquaintances. If we are 
evermore than this— if we are ever friends — depends upon you." 

She had said this standing, and every word was uttered 
with surprising decision. The old man was quite unprepared 
for so deliberate a declaration ; and although it was an exact 
corollary to the proposition he had laid down to his friend 
Foyle concerning his daughter, he was fairly staggered by it. 
Isabel took a seat when she had finished, and invited Cope to 



SOME EEMAliKABLY PLAIN SPEAKING. 



0!) 



do the same. He did so, and then with his eyes fixed on the 
cornice, he said : 

" I respect your candour, and if I were younger I should 
perhaps feel offended ; hut on reflection I don't think I could 
expect anything else." 

This is what he said, but as a matter of fact he was not at 
all prepared for the logical conclusion of his own theories. 
He had in his declaration to Foyle looked only at the man's 
side of the question, and had forgotten the woman's. With 
the quickness natural to him he pushed the matter through 
his mind, and concluded that Isabel's position was reasonable 
in the circumstances, but he was very certain that time would 
alter those circumstances, and in any case he would be master 
of the position. 

Isabel seemed relieved. She rose again and took from her 
writing-table a copy of the agreement she had entrusted Mr. 
"Ware to draw up. Handing it to Cope, she said : 




" When my father spoke to me on this matter, and I had 
made up my mind about it, I had the conditions I spoke of 
drawn up in a formal manner." 



60 GOLDEN LIVES. 

She watched him intently as he read it, but observed only 
that his face grew harder as he passed from clause to clause. 
When he had finished he folded it up and handed it back, 
saying : 

" These are your conditions ? " 

" Yes," she answered, with just a shade of timidity. He 
was quick to take advantage of it, and said, with his eyes on 
the cornice, as before : 

"It is not marriage." 

There was a pause, a long and awkward pause, equally 
embarrassing, but equally useful to both. The old man 
summed it up in a short compass. It was not marriage, 
but an arrangement — an arrangement that he was prepared to 
assent to if he could make no better terms, because it satisfied 
his malice by excluding Thresher, and he had no doubt what- 
ever but that in course of time, and in rather a short than a 
long time, he would tear the document into shreds. The only 
thing that really troubled him was the fear that the conditions 
would become known. 

Isabel's state of mind was more complicated. She dreaded 
each and all possible conclusions, and most of all the accept- 
ance of her own scheme, merely because it was the most 
probable. She began to realise the difficulties of the future. 
To plot in the boudoir is a very different thing from the actual 
contest with the enemy, and her very soul shrank within her 
at those few words, " It is not marriage." She was not facing 
a precipice, but stood upright on a pinnacle, and there was no 
refuge. 

" It is not marriage," repeated Cope with great deliberation, 
" and the world will find it out. Are you prepared to stand 
what they will say when they have found it out ? They will 
say ' Cope's an old fool, and she sold herself for so much 
money ' How will you like it ? " 

"I shall not like it," replied Isabel, piqued, " but it is not a 
question of liking ; it is a question of enduring." 

There was another pause, and then Isabel resumed : 

" I do not know your motive, Mr. Cope. I should like to 
think it mere generosity, but that cannot be, or you would 
have given the impulse generous expression. What is your 
motive?" 



SOME KKMAKKABLY PLAIN SPEAKING. 61 

The old man bowed very low as he said 

" Can you ask me?" 

"Mr. Cope," she said sternly, "this is not an occasion for 
compliment. I have already made plain to you that I do not 
accede to your proposal with satisfaction. Personally T would 
sacrifice very, very much to avoid it ; but for reasons sufficient 
to me I have determined otherwise." 

There was another pause, and then she added : 

" On reflection I do not need to care what your motive is. 
What I have to do is to adhere strictly to my own line of con- 
duct ; and I have only to add that if your motive is evil, or if 
you have ulterior intentions that will conflict with my resolution, 
I cannot be held responsible for the disappointment in store for 
you." 

She said this with some asperity, but with unequivocal 
emphasis, and the tone rather than the language gave a new 
direction to Cope's thoughts. He had been inclined to regard 
Isabel's attitude as a foible ; he was not prepared for stubborn 
determination that might break out into open resistance and 
even defiance. He could see now that if he hoped for com- 
plete conquest he must dissemble. To most men the prospect 
would not have been inviting, but Cope in a sense was a 
sportsman, and the prospective struggle had charms for him. 
He resolved to accept her terms ; and he resolved also to enter 
upon a siege of conquest or rather of repression and subjugation 
at the earliest convenient opportunity. The time had arrived 
for a conclusion to be come to, and rising, he said : 

" Miss Foyle, your manner of transacting business has 
surprised and pleased me. I am prepared to accept your 
conditions, and leave the future to disclose whatever it has in 
store for us." 

After making this oracular declaration, he proposed to sign 
the agreement at once, so that not even Mr. "Ware and his 
clerks should know that it had been signed. A witness to the 
signature was found in Jacobs, and after she had withdrawn, 
Cope, with a touch of gallantry, handed his copy to Isabel, 
with the remark : 

" I make you, Miss Foyle, the custodian of my copy; I intend 

to trust you." 

Going out to meet his future father-in-law, Joshua Cope felt 



62 GOLDEN LIVES. 

rather proud of this last stroke of policy. The document was 
perfectly useless to him ; its very existence was rather shameful 
than otherwise, and possession of it would have embarrassed 
him. He wanted to forget it, and as he intended to treat it 
as a bit of folly, he thought he could not do better than show 
his contempt for it under the guise of courtesy. But he did 
not like the rejoinder. It was brief and was not altogether 
apposite as a rejoinder ; but it showed that Isabel had thought 
out the whole question. She answered as she accepted the 
custody of the document : 

" We will be married at the Registry Office. I decline to be 
married by a clergyman ; I have been reading the marriage 
service." 




CHAPTER IX. 

JOSHUA COPE'S PURCHASE. 

The success which had attended Crawley Foyle's finesse 
had a curious effect upon his mental condition. He was 
unusually excited. He talked incessantly when in company, 
and when alone he was continually on the move. Had 
he questioned himself he would have been obliged to con- 
fess that he had done a very mean thing ; it was because 
he refused to admit this obvious and intrusive fact that he 
bristled with declarations of satisfaction at the turn things 
had taken. 

It must be admitted that on the completion of the financial 
arrangements, which were all conducted under the super- 
intendence of Mr. Ware, with many sighs and much doubting, 
Mr. Crawley Foyle found himself in a highly prosperous 
position. He had never indeed stood so well with the world, 
and he did not in the least exaggerate when he seized upon a 
chance opportunity to remark to Isabel, in tones of genuine 
emotion, that whatever resulted from the step she had taken 
he would never forget to his dying day that he and all of 
their household owed every moment of their future happiness 
to her self-sacrifice. 

And how had this great change come about ? A little heap 
of senseless gold had been marked with a new ticket and that 
gave " happiness." Two or three cross entries in a ledger, a 
transaction in figures with a banker, a signature or two, and 
smiling vivacity took the place of vacant consternation. 

But the price paid for the check which Ruin had received 
had not yet been counted up. The heart that offered itself to 
be bruised and broken in order that the ledger entries might 
be made, had not as yet discovered itself. The bud of the 
rose that's pierced by the worm is not more unconscious of the 
glow of the summer sun than was this enshrouded heart that 
seemed likely to be born to the fulness of life and passion only 
to find itself imprisoned though unenslaved. Not one of all 
the parties to this purchase and sale of the dormant essence 



64 GOLDEN LIVES. 

of a woman's heart could value the tremendous possibilities in 
which they trafficked, or imagine a millionth fragment of the 
evil that they did. Nor could one say that any cared, save 
only Mr. Ware, and he was silent. 

The financial arrangements were concluded in Mr. Ware's 
office. The necessary cheques were handed over, the 
trust deeds signed ; and every anterior provision made to 
comply with the pre-arranged conditions. The trustees were 
Mr. Ware, himself, and Mr. Crawley Foyle, with power to 
appoint successors, and the whole business besides being 
restrained within the limits of the confidential circle 
occupied only ten minutes. 

"That's what I call a smooth piece of work," said Cope. 
" It's all rounded up at the corners, all nice and clean, and 
nothing left over." His eyes twinkled as he buttoned up his 
pockets, one on each side, and he finished off his reflections 
by wiping the back of his hand across his mouth. 

Mr. Ware did not like the action nor the remark, and he 
pursed up his lips, and lifted a pen nervously, only to replace 
it on the table. His natural sense condemned this smooth 
piece of work, but he made no comment. 

Going home that day, and in the calm of the evening, sur- 
rounded by three of the five daughters, he thought to him- 
self that he ought to have said something to make known 
his disapproval of the transaction, and phrase after phrase 
that he might have uttered passed through his mind, all 
more or less appropriate and telling. He turned them 
over and over, and regretted that he had not had the 
courage to defy professional etiquette and say them all one 
after the other in the wild enthusiasm of a just indignation. 

"Ah," thought he, "the work was smooth, but let us 
wait till the friction comes." And if he had only said at 
the close of the day's sad business, " If my clients are 
satisfied, I can have no opinion upon the propriety of the 
agreements ; " or " There is one party to the smooth piece 
of work whose real interest, whatever her generosity may 
have conceded, appears to have been very little considered." 

But Mr. Ware had held his peace and fell asleep that 
night reflecting that even if he had said these, and other 
things a thousand times more bitter, he would not have 



JOSHUA COPE S PUBCHASE. 



65 



altered the fact, and he had now the consolation of knowing 
that he had not made matters worse, nor hampered his hope 
of usefulness to Isabel in the future by comment that might 
have been regarded as impertinent, and deserving the 
punishment of dismissal. 

Cope's remark was by no means displeasing to Foyle, however. 
The bold conspirator is always a source of comfort to his 
conscience-stricken neighbour, and there was a large reserve 
of boldness about Cope and no conscience. 

Part of the rounding up and smoothing off had been a letter 
to David Thresher from Mr. Ware, enclosing a cheque for 
his capital, and remarking that the grounds of his desiring 
to withdraw were such that, in the opinion of the other 
partners, it was undesirable the separation should be delayed, 
but it remained with Mr. Thresher to elect immediate retire- 
ment or another six months of " alleged moral contamination." 
The closing phrase was Foyle's, and he was proud of it. All 
the cheques and documents were left in the hands of Mr. Ware, 
to be exchanged after the visit to the Registrar's ; and punctually 
to the time arranged for, a clerk announced : 

" Mr. Cope's carriage." 




Now it chanced that Mr. Cope had never had a carriage in 
all his life, and when the party went to the office door, and 



66 GOLDEN LIVES. 

beheld a positive equipage, consisting of a large but lightly 
constructed open carriage hung on C springs, drawn by a 
pair of colossal bays, with an immovable coachman on the 
box, and a statuesque footman at the door, they were amazed 
beyond the power of speech. 

Isabel was seated in the carriage, and bowed somewhat 
coldly. The footman opened the door and the trio paused, 
but ultimately were placed by Isabel, who ordered her father 
to sit beside her and Cope opposite. She then requested Cope 
to give his orders to the footman, which he did mechanically, 
and, for the first time in the course of these proceedings, he 
found himself seriously doubting the wisdom of his actions. 
It was not merely that an equipage, which might fairly be 
described as perfect, had appeared as if by the waving of a 
magician's wand ; but it presented to him the glimpse of a 
future that alarmed him. There was a boldness of conception, 
and a vigour of execution about the incident that took his 
breath away. What might she not do ? He had no time to 
answer the question. The coachman was a finished whip ; 
the horses moved in a style that made the pedestrians look 
round ; the hansom cabmen smiled with delight as the carriage 
passed them, and Joshua Cope was at the Eegistry Office before 
he had made up his mind what kind of a comment he should 
make on the startling incident. But there was more in store 
for him. The brief and prosaic formalities of a legal marriage 
were soon completed, the party resumed their places in 
the carriage, and as the footman closed the door Mrs. Joshua 
Cope with perfect composure gave the order herself, and 
it was — 

"Home!" 

Mr. Crawley Foyle rather liked the idea of his daughter 
appearing in Eaton Square in her own carriage, and smiled. 
He had tried to converse as they drove to the Registrar's, but 
the effort had failed. Cope's frame of mind forbade it, and 
Mr. Ware was sad. Mr. Foyle might have had better success 
this time, but from the fact that he found the coachman took 
a wrong turn, and then it began to dawn upon him that 
" home " was not in Eaton Square, but somewhere else. It 
proved to be in Park Lane, and Mrs. Cope informed her 
husband that she had ordered luncheon. 



JOSHUA COPES PURCHASE. 



07 



For anything that the three gentlemen could see to the 
contrary when they arrived, the establishment might have been 
going on for a twelvemonth. Everything was provided, even 
down to the detail of a valet for Mr. Joshua Cope, who was 
taken in hand on the door-mat and conducted to his room in 
a manner that suffered no denial. This valet was the brother 
of Jacobs, Isabel's maid, and the pivot on which the whole 
order of the day turned. His orders were to "look after 
Mr. Cope," and do nothing else. His sister would look after 
Mrs. Cope, and the rest of the establishment was in the hands 
of G-unter. 

The scheme was simple and effective. Isabel chose the 
house after an hour's interview with a house agent. She 
wanted a definite thing ; a house with a couple of rooms on the 




ground floor, opening into each other. All other considerations 
of size, number of rooms, the locality and price were matters 
of no concern. The two rooms and immediate occupation 
were the essentials, and these found, she put Jacobs and her 
brother in possession, and gave her orders to Gunter for a 
month's service, commencing with luncheon for four. Jacobs 

F '2 



68 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



ordered and G-unter provided. Crawley Foyle said everything 
was admirable, and he positively rejoiced. He actually succeeded 
in persuading himself that he had done a very good and generous, 
as well as a very clever thing, in bringing it all about. As for 
Cope he was perplexed. Even his ideas concerning himself were 
confused, and he gradually discovered that he was in thraldom. 




The attentions of the valet distressed him ; and Jacobs was 
such an eminently respectable personage that Joshua Cope, to 
his amazement, found he could not swear at him. This led 
him to reflect that there would have to be a change, but he 
was by no means clear as to the form the change would take or 
when it should be applied. In ordinary cases the time would 
arrive when it would be necessary to pay the bills, but he was 
in doubt whether he would have to pay them ; and, as a 
matter of fact, he would not, for it was an essential part of 
Isabel's scheme that she would have the ordering of her own 
household wholly in her own hands, leaving her husband to 
order his where and how he pleased. By the judicious 



JOSHUA cope's purchase. 69 



implication of conventional customs she had resolved to keep 
Cope to his bargain, and entrenched him within a cordon of 
domestic servants of irreproachable manners. Cope found 
himself in their toils before he had time to think even of a 
dwelling. He had in fact lost his chance. 

It is a very good rule for settling the method of procedure in 
any new phase of one's life to begin as you mean to go on. 
There is no condition to which this rule should be more 
rigorously applied than the married state, and it chanced that 
Isabel, unconscious that she was regulating her actions by any 
defined rule, worked rigorously in accordance with it. She 
gained much by this — in fact, she gained everything she looked 
for, whereas Cope, who had resolved to act cautiously, 
and play what is allegorically known as " the waiting 
game," which in many cases is no game at all, unless it be 
the game of losing one's opportunity, found himself in a 
diplomatic difficulty. If it had been a commercial transaction, 
no matter how large and intricate, he would have resolved it in 
five minutes, but he had taken a plunge out of his depth and 
wanted breathing time. 

He was no nearer a solution of his doubt and difficulties after 
the luncheon than before, and whether the wine had mollified 
him or not it is impossible to say, but in the privacy of his 
apartments — those specially set apart for him — he took Mr. 
Foyle by the arm and said in a way that indicated a desire 
on his part to justify himself : 

" Foyle, your daughter is a very remarkable woman — very 
remarkable. I wish I was five and thirty and — handsome." 




CHAPTEE X. 

THE JUNIOE PAETNEE EXHIBITS TALENT. 

The office of Schrieber & Co. was next morning honoured 
by a visit from the Junior partner, Mr. Arthur Foyle. This 
was an event in itself, but what made it altogether extra- 
ordinary was the fact that he came early. He walked in 
with his hat on the back of his head, nodded in a friendly 
way to all and sundry, and beckoned Milton, the cashier and 
head bookkeeper, into what was known as the room of the 
Junior partners. 

Milton found him straddling a chair with his gloves and 
stick in his hand, as if he had no intention of staying. 




" Look here, Milton, old man," said Arthur, " I dropped in 
to say that I have just lodged a couple of thousand at the Bank 



THE JUNIOR PARTNER EXHIBITS TALENT. 71 

to take up a bill that will be presented to-day, so if you hear 
anything of it you know it's all right." 

Milton was a meek man whose life was circumscribed by the 
four corners of the Schrieber & Co. ledger, whose dissipation 
was limited to the less serious exercises connected with Salem 
Chapel, Ivennington ; and whose domestic circle consisted of a 
widowed sister and her daughter. 

" Bill, Mr. Arthur? There is no bill that I know of." 

'• Exactly, old man. It's because you don't know of it that 
I tell you. It's nothing to do with you, but in case you hear 
of it I want you to know it's all right." 

" Certainly, Mr. Arthur. Who accepted it '? " 

"I did." 

" In your own name ? " 

" No, in the firm's name ; but I tell you it's all right." 

Mr. Arthur was very decisive this time, because the questions 
put by Milton suggested that it was not quite all right, and 
Milton ventured to remark in the mildest possible manner that 
it was a little irregular ; to which Arthur in a light and airy 
way said : 

" Oh, but I say, old fellow, look here, what more can a 
fellow do, but meet it. There's nothing irregular about that, 
you know? " 

" Oh dear no, Mr. Arthur. It was only irregular to use the 
firm's name, that's all." 

Mr. Arthur made an exclamation of pleasurable surprise. 
The transaction had never occurred to him in that light, and 
he responded jauntily : 

" Oh, if that's all, old man, it doesn't matter a damn. And 
look here, as it's irregular, you know, you had better know 
nothing about it, don't you know ; only, you know, I thought 
I'd better tell you I had squared it all right in case you heard 
it mentioned at the Bank." 

With this he began strutting round the room flourishing his 
stick and vaguely ejaculating, " This is confidential, you know." 
"No necessity to tell the governor unless he asks you, you 
know." " Shan't do it again as you say it's irregular," and 
other comments of a similar character. Then bringing himself 
up with a knowing air he struck an attitude and said with 
superb self-confidence : 



72 GOLDEN LIVES. 

" I say, old man, I know a trick worth half-a-dozen of 
Schrieber & Co.'s. I've been making a corner and we've 
squeezed 'em awfully." 

An expression of horror came over Milton's face as he said : 

" You don't say, Mr. Arthur, you've been speculating ? " 

"Yes I have; and made a devilish good thing of it. My 
share was £75,000. "What do you think of that, old man, for a 
three month's corner. Better than Schrieber & Co. Eh ?" 

Milton was appalled. The magnitude of the operation ; its 
unequivocal success ; the daring of Mr. Arthur and the cool- 
ness with which he disregarded all the ordinary obligations of 
partnership reduced the unhappy Milton to a condition of 
terror. But all he could say in response was to express 
a hope that Mr. Arthur would not in any case let his father 
know that he had informed him. 

Self-preservation took precedence, even in Milton, of moral 
obligation. The duty that is imposed by honour and the 
generosity that shows itself in self-sacrifice are not much 
cultivated in the neighbourhood of Bankers' clearing-houses. 
In the atmosphere of Salem Chapel, Milton felt in a theoretical 
way that the world was ruled by love ; but in the atmosphere 
of the Minories, and Schrieber & Co., he knew that the 
controlling principles of commerce were cash on settling day, 
and the Devil take the hindmost. He resolved to bury in 
the inmost recesses of his soul all knowledge of Mr. Arthur's 
bill and his "corner;" and such was the influence of the 
Minories on that timid soul that he announced with all the 
boldness of a practised liar that as it was " confidential as 
Mr. Arthur had said " he should be justified in taking his 
dying oath that he had never spoken to him a word on the 
subject ; and would only know what came to him in the 
ordinary course of business. 

This having been settled and Mr. Arthur having said a few 
kindly things in his cheerful easy way, Milton became cheerful 
too, and said with a sickly smile as if he were not quite sure 
he was not presuming : 

" I suppose you were at the wedding, yesterday, Mr. 
Arthur ? " 

"Wedding? No. I was at no wedding, old man. What 
wedding?" 



THE JUNIOR PARTNER EXHIBITS TALENT. 



73 



"What wedding, Mr. Arthur? Why your sister's, didn't 
you know?" 

" No, by God — whom has she married ? " 

"Why, dear me, Mr. Cope," exclaimed the astonished 
Milton. 

"Cope, be damned!" scoffed Mr. Arthur, with a loud 
discrediting laugh. 

"Oh dear, yes," said Milton, "it's quite true, it's in The 
Times." 

And away he went to fetch the authoritative announce- 
ment. 




There is nothing so interesting as the virtuous indignation 
of a thoroughly dissolute man or woman ; it seems as if 



74 GOLDEN LIVES. 

nature had specially fitted them for the artistic denunciation 
of impropriety : they know so much about it. The other 
more uniformly condemning class, who denounce what they 
have never had a chance of experiencing are wholly inartistic ; 
they merely run amuck against what they do not understand, 
and are frequently actuated by jealousy of those whose 
physique has made them a prey to temptations the purist 
never meets with. Mr. Arthur was in a towering rage. He 
began to feel an heroic devotion to his sister, and strong 
sympathy with Thresher, whose superiority he had hitherto 
resented. For his father he felt unutterable things, and as the 
distinguished Member was at that moment entering the office 
with his head in the air Arthur dashed into his presence 
with a paper in his hand, and exclaimed : " You are at 
the bottom of this — you and old Cope have schemed this — 
a couple of infernal scoundrels," and he flung the paper on 
the desk. 

The attack was startling in tone and in suddenness. Mr. 
Crawley Foyle was not prepared for it, and for the moment he 
was incapable of rejoinder. To be suddenly brought from 
the altitude of complacent self laudation and to be informed by 
one's own son that you are an exceptional scoundrel is dis- 
tracting, and Mr. Crawley Foyle had to look about him for 
ideas. He found them in his pocket-book. The bill that he 
had purchased from that good man Samuel Shorter the evening 
before was at command ; and as he searched in his pocket and 
brought it forth his passions awakened to a sense of the 
enormity of his son's behaviour, and he exclaimed, boiling with 
indignation, 

"Scoundrels! Who talks of scoundrels? Look at this 
piece of paper, miserable youth ; and thank a beneficent 
providence that your brother-in-law has saved you from a 
felon's dock." 

The production of the bill was certainly effective, and for the 
moment checked the torrent of Arthur's indignation. But not- 
withstanding all he had heard from Milton he could not com- 
prehend the reference to a felon's dock, and the fact that he did 
not understand made him look rather sheepish. His father 
mistook this for complete surrender, and followed up his 
advantage by a melodramatic oration, which he wound up with 



THE JUNIOR PARTNER EXHIBITS TALENT. lb 

a suggestion that his misguided son should go down on his 
knees and sue for mercy. 

The absurdity of the proposition revived Arthur's spirits : 
and his desire to ascertain how his father had become possessed 
of his bill took exclusive possession of his mind. As soon as 
he found his father had taken it up he exhibited the wildest 
joy at being, as he said, " two thousand richer" than he had 
thought. Upon this Mr. Crawley Foyle harked back upon the 
" felon's dock " sentiment, and his son, who had a glimmering 
perception that a misappropriation of partnership funds, or of 
funds raised by an act of partnership was in the nature of 
embezzlement, drew upon his natural ability and made a 
thoroughly business-like answer : 

" We'll settle one thing at a time. I don't know and don't 
care how you got hold of that bill ; but it has not yet been 
presented. When it is it will be paid. I have just lodged the 
money to pay it." 

" You lodge the money ! " exclaimed the father. "Why you 
haven't a penny in the world." 

" Don't talk rubbish," rejoined Arthur, with an air of 
importance. " Present the bill and it will be paid, and fifty 
more like it if you have them. Send Milton round to the Bank 
now, unless you are going to make me a present of the 
money " 

" I will," exclaimed the outraged parent ; and while 
Milton was gone the two walked up and down the room, 
blistered their tongues with expletives, and generally boiling 
over with extravagant vituperation. Some of it was 
unique for garishness, but exotic Billingsgate is not as 
picturesque as the natural growth, and to record it would 
be revolting. 

Milton returned, put the money on the table, and got out of 
the room as fast as he could. His example seemed to inspire 
the junior partner with a new idea. Kesolving to get possession 
of the bill at once, he left his father with the two thousand 
pounds before him a prey to strange misgivings, and some 
remorse. By no process of reasoning could Crawley Foyle 
construe the method or object of his son's proceedings, and as 
doubt was maddening, he called in Milton to his aid. That 
swerving moralist pretended to have ascertained at the bank 



76 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



what Arthur had himself told him, and when confirmation of 
the position was secured, Mr. Crawley Foyle was bound to 
admit to himself that he had made a great mistake, and what 
was worse, was in danger of being found out. 




CHAPTEE XL 

DAVID THRESHER DISCOVERS HIS LOSS. 

It was the lot of David Thresher to be an object of envy 
among men on account of attributes on which he seemed 
to set little store. It is a question not easily answered as to 
the regard a really handsome man has for his good appearance, 
and the price he would set upon it in comparison with other 
desirable things of this life. David Thresher was decidedly 
handsome. His full stature and auburn beard were typical of 
physical strength ; the liquid depth of his large dark eyes gave 
evidence of a reserve of moral force, and these two qualities 
comprehend all that suggests a perfect man. "Women 
regarded him with something like veneration, and many 
besides those who enjoyed his confidences looked wistfully 
towards him and dreamed of the wealth of trustful love and 
lingering rest in store for the woman who should win him. 

He was wealthy, too, and could have devoted himself wholly 
to pleasure. The satisfaction of cravings that are common 
among men he could have easily secured, and perhaps it was 
because of this that his desires ran in other directions. It is 
the unattained that men really value, and the impossible is 
always, and in the nature of things, a priceless treasure. 

David Thresher had a longing for serious occupation, and 
was curiously impressed with the grandeur of Commerce. He 
had studied the matter theoretically, and had invested it with 
imaginary charms. The lying and cheating, the sordid 
greed, the revolting oppression and the heartless ambitions 
engendered by the conflict of barter he had never met with 
except in the cupidity of the huckster, the pettiness of whose 
transactions caused him to disregard the principle involved. 
He had joined Schrieber & Co. for amusement rather than for 
profit; and though the largeness of the gains amazed and 
gratified him, the prospect of amusement was annihilated by 
the incidents of the trading. His imagination had failed to 
grasp the possibilities which actual experience unfolded to 
him. His illusions were dispelled. 



78 GOLDEN LIVES. 

Invariably reserved and a master of self-restraint, he 
long pondered on his position before taking action ; and his 
relations with Isabel formed the chief stumbling-block in the 
way of a decision. He felt that a breach with the father 
would mean, perhaps, a breach with the daughter, or, 
at least, temporary constraint. He hesitated, but finally 
resolved that he would do nothing that could, in the eyes of 
Isabel, in any way reflect upon her father. This resolution, 
conceived in the most honourable spirit, resulted in serious 
misfortune. It deprived Isabel of the key to the position, and 
made her father's deception easy. It was impossible to say what 
view she would have taken of an open denunciation by David 
Thresher of her father as Schrieber & Co., but it is quite 
possible she would have declined to believe his malfeasance, 
notwithstanding her antipathy to him domestically. The 
die, however, was cast. David Thresher had acted honour- 
ably, and he suffered. 

A copy of The Times had been delivered to him addressed in 
a wrapper and with the marriage marked. He was literally 
stunned. He had long loved Isabel with a deep and earnest 
love that seldom spoke, but had the strength and devotion 
which come of long contemplation and that exhibited itself in 
the thousand and one little actions that scarcely extended 
beyond ordinary courtesies, but which in his case were never 
omitted, and were always graced with glances of hope. 

With his love, deep-seated, unmoved by sudden impulse, and 
guided by a strong determination, he accepted his dismissal at 
Isabel's hand as an incident that time alone could annul. He 
was slightly nettled at her want of confidence, and he was un- 
ready when confronted with a situation so wholly unexpected. 
Their relationship had not grown sufficiently intimate to 
justify elaborate remonstrance, and he felt that as soon as the 
commercial difficulty with the father had been settled, the time 
for explanation with the daughter would have arrived, and the 
course would be clear for love alone. A few days had passed, 
and with them his calculations had been belied, and his hopes 
absolutely annihilated. Not only so, but the misfortune 
in its personal aspect to him was dwarfed by the feeling of 
revulsion which Isabel's action had created. What despicable 
instincts had been lying hidden in her heart to rise to life and 



DAVID THliKSIIRi; DISCOVERS HIS LOSS. 70 

hideous deformity at the fiat of a vile old man? Could any 
monster have created in the foulest depths of a distorted 
imagination so great a fall as this bartering of a virgin life for 
gold? He was stung to hopelessness, and the surging passion 
of his riven heart was stilled by a feeling of despair. In utter 
hopelessness he saw a future, dark and cheerless, unsunned by 
love, and incapable of awakening hope. The only passion left 
to stir him into active life was the feeling of revenge. But 
against whom ? 

Joseph Eales was announced. He came with Mr. Ware's 
letter in his hand, — the letter that enclosed the ;£52,000 which 
David Thresher had sent on to him, before he had seen The 
Times, for Eales was Thresher's lawyer and his college chum. 
The only question he wanted to settle was whether the 
acceptance of his money resulted in the closing of the con- 
nection ; but interest in this point was now at an end. 
Thresher handed Eales The Times, and scarcely had he read it 
and exclaimed in amazement at the record when Arthur Foyle 
came in red-hot from the conflict with his father. 

There naturally followed a piecing together of facts as soon 
as the storm of mild denunciation had been expended. Eales's 
professional disposition prompted him to suggest a calm con- 
sideration of the position ; he asked innumerable questions, 
and, thus prompted, Arthur, after some hesitation, produced 
his recovered bill, and told the story of his morning's work 
in detail. Eales at once seized upon this, and connected the 
facts with the letter from Cope to Shorter that he had picked 
up on the railway line with such determined industry. He 
had not before declared this incident because his object in 
looking into Cope's proceedings had been something very 
different from that now in question, and he had never been 
able to understand the meaning of the letter or to connect it 
with the matter he was enquiring into. His pursuit of Cope 
at that time had originated in a departmental enquiry by the 
Admiralty as to the origin of certain foul and death-dealing 
stores purveyed to Her Majesty's ship Nineveh with lamentable; 
consequences. The enquiry had failed and the incident ot 
the letter had passed from Eales's mind. It now revived with 
luminous force, and when he had submitted the letter it 
became clear to his companions that Cope himself had got 



80 GOLDEN LIVES. 

possession of the bill and had been " the innocent holder " 
whom Crawley Eoyle had paid. 

These few facts opened up a wide field of speculation. 
David Thresher accordingly handed round cigarettes and the 
trio smoked. 

It was a large and handsomely arranged apartment with 
painted walls and ceilings, carved oak furniture, and crowded 
with ornaments and curiosities gathered from all parts of the 
world. It was the room where he most liked to be, because 
it was a sort of record of his life. His dining-room was 
plain, and even bare, save in the furnishing of the table, 
which was adequate. The room was devoted to refection, 
and was provided with all things necessary to that end, 
but with nothing more. His bed-room and dressing-room 
were furnished on the same principle of strict utility, but this 
sitting room was in the nature of a luxurious hall that had 
grown around the man, was part of him, and inimitable. Its 
great charm was its power to reflect a sentiment of repose: it 
seemed to clothe all who entered it with a feeling of rest 
and quiet. Its carpets were thick and soft ; its hangings 
were abundant and warm ; its seats were capacious and 
luxurious. 

Kales and Arthur sat and smoked, Thresher walked the long 
room nervously, and let his cigarette go out. Presently he 
stopped and asked : 

" Why is it that we bring all these facts together now for 
the first time?" 

" Because." said Eales, "we could not before see their 
relation to each other nor our concern in them." 

" Cope saw them," said Arthur. 

" Because Cope devised them," added Eales. 

" And we don't know everything yet, old man, you bet," 
said Arthur. 

They were a gloomy trio ; they were suffering from a 
sense of defeat, and no matter how violent and angry 
their denunciations, they were conscious of a feeling of 
humiliation. 

" What's to be done ? " asked Eales. 

" What can be done?" replied Thresher. "What should 
be done ? Can you conceive of anything fitting as an end to 



DAVID THRESHER DISCOVERS HIS LOSS. 



81 



such a catastrophe but annihilation ? Cope must be a devil 
incarnate ! " 

" He must be all that, old man, to have got round Isabel. 
That's what beats me — why she caved in." 

" Money," said Thresher scornfully. 




" No," replied Arthur, shaking his head, " You had that, 
and she didn't care a bit for it. There's something else, and I 
shall go to see her to find out." 

This was an excellent idea. Arthur was in the camp of the 
enemy, was in no wise troubled by any nice sense of honour, 
was thoroughly independent, and very angry. Said he : 

" She knows a lot we don't. If she's gone away, I mean to 
follow. If old Cope gets in my way I shall go for him. I 
suppose I've a right to see my own sister." 

This proposition was being discussed with approval and its 
soundness was generally conceded ; but consideration of the 
way the intention was to be carried out was interrupted by the 
arrival of a clerk with a note for Eales which ran as follows : — 

" A messenger has just called to say Mr. Louison lias been 

Q 



82 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



carried off in the night by three masked men, who made 
burglarious entry into Maida Lodge, and left Cheriton bound 
and gagged. Your immediate attention is desired." 

"This is strange," said Eales to Thresher, "Your uncle 
kidnapped!" 




CHAPTEK XII. 



THE FOUNDER'S HEIR. 



Mr. Walter Louison's 
circumstances strikingly il- 
lustrated the futility of 
human designs. His father, 
fifty years before, being 
much impressed with the 
assumed desire of heirs to 
see an end of their prede- 
cessors, conceived a scheme 
by which the pains of 
parentage should be relieved 
in this respect. 

He had recourse to the 
well-known expedient of the 
Tontine, and thought that 
if it were made the interest 
of a man's children or succes- 
sors that he should outlive 
his compeers, the desire for 
his death in the hope of succession would be probably dis- 
sipated, or at least minimised. 

He accordingly set about his scheme with great care, 
and being a man of active mind and no occupation, he was 
indefatigable in detailing the most minute conditions of the 
contract, which, from a purely commercial point of view, 
proved successful beyond the dreams of avarice. 

Over two hundred lives were placed on the register originally, 
all over twenty-one years of age, and the subscriptions 
were all invested in the freeholds of London warehouses, 
a circumstance that gave a title to the Association. It was 
part of the scheme that none of the revenue should be 
touched except for the purposes of management, and these 
expenses were restricted by schedule to the most minute 
particular. All accumulations were re-invested in freehold 

g 2 




84 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



property within the area of the city of London proper, and 
balances remained in Consols until a satisfactory purchase 
could be made. 

The growth of the new investments and the increased value 
of all of them by reason of the development of the City's 
commerce, had resulted in the accumulation of an enormous 
capital sum that the vulgar, by its disposition to exaggerate, 
had reported to amount to many millions sterling. As a 
matter of fact, the sum was under two millions, but few 
can really apprehend what this sum means as the possession 
of one man, which the Founder of the Tontine designed 
it to be. The power that it would give for good or evil 
was enormous, and had old Mr. Louison foreseen how near 
it was falling into hands that were distinctly evil, he would have 
been as eager to prevent as he was to promote the realisation of 
his ideal scheme. 

But the ultimate destination of the money was nothing as 
compared with the influence it was hoped the conditions of its 
existence would have upon the minds of the heirs of the two 
hundred subscribers. The founder expected that the influence 
of greed instead of being directed to the destruction would tend 
to the prolongation of these two hundred lives. He sought to 
make an unworthy passion serve the purpose of virtue, to turn 
covetousness into love, cupidity into self-denying care. The 
futility of the scheme was written in glaring characters upon 
its first stages, and one tenth part of the labour involved in its 
construction would have achieved a thousand times better 
results if directed to the cultivation of the purest motives merely 
because they were pure. 

Bent upon the promotion of mutual good-will the Founder 
had arranged that the subscribers should hold an annual meet- 
ing, and thereafter dine together. The meetings were called 
and the dinners were provided, but none attended. The 




iijfii^"- 



THE founder's heir. 85 

balance-sheet of the Trustees satisfied the subscribers on the 
first point, and, as regards the second, they were each and all 
afraid of being poisoned by the soup. The Founder had for- 
gotten that while the immediate descendants of the subscribers 
had been provided with an excellent reason for keeping them 
alive, each subscriber was by the same process endowed with a 
special aversion to all the rest ; and instead of their having one 
or two about them whose hope of profit by their death was 
tempered by the uncertainty of inheritance, each of the sub- 
scribers knew that there existed one hundred and ninety-nine 
others all eagerly watching for his death. Repress the fact as 
they might it was impossible to deny that the only point of real 
interest to the subscribers in the annual reports was the record 
of deaths. The accumulations soon represented a sum that 
outstripped imagination, so that the annual additions were of 
comparatively small significance, but each death was a step 
nearer possession, and the survivors read of them with ghoulish 
avidity 

And now there were only three — three stubborn and enduring 
lives, and the three watched each other from a distance with a 
life's expectation almost within their grasp. How could they 
fail to encourage hope of evil to their partners ? How resist 
the unholy aspiration for their fellows' death ? They called it 
"life," "survivorship," and their "good fortune." They 
refused to recognise the sinister corollaries and hoped on. 

The evil influence of the marvellous arrangement upon 
which the elder Louison had expended so much skill had not 
developed in his son the grosser passions of covetousness, for 
it could not be said that he desired the death of his partners 
in hope of gain. The influence, however, had been scarcely 
less baneful. Mr. Walter Louison, whose disappearance had 
been announced to the desponding trio, was essentially a 
generous man. He was very wealthy, apart from the possible 
inheritance of the Tontine accumulations, nor was he anxious 
to incur the responsibility involved in the ownership of the 
enormous wealth of the Association. Still the desire for long 
life had developed in him to an extraordinary degree, and his 
fear of falling a victim to the cupidity of his partners had reduced 
him to the condition of a monomaniac. He would see no one, 
except his man-servant Cheriton ; and the ingenuity his father 



86 GOLDEN LIVES. 

had shown in arranging the working details of the Tontine 
scheme, and which he had inherited, was used by him to devise 
the means of keeping everyone, especially his relations, at a 
distance. He had come to the conclusion that all care for him 
had its origin in selfish expectation, and he therefore culti- 
vated a repugnance to communion with his friends and 
succeeded to perfection in realising, as far as life in London 
would permit, the conception of a hermit. 

This disposition to seclusion increased with years, and 
became pronounced when he was about forty years of age. 
Even his solicitor, Mr. Eales, had never seen him; and the 
large transactions necessary to conduct his investments were 
all carried out by correspondence, arranged upon a plan which 
displayed ingenuity similar to that which had marked so much 
of the life and practice of the father and son. Each invest- 
ment, each matter of business formed a separate set of papers 
that recorded the transactions in it from beginning to end. 
Whenever an incident occurred a record was made of it and 
added to the papers in question, and these were placed in a 
locked leathern case together with the papers on other subjects 
that had arisen during the week, and the whole were taken in 
their locked case to Maida Lodge and left there. Next day 
they were fetched away, and, appended to the new transac- 
tions, were the initials W L. In some cases remarks or 
directions were added in a clear methodical hand. Each set 
of papers was provided with an index, and in the case of an 
investment they commenced with a brief record of its nature, 
and its special points of interest. 

Joseph Eales had inherited this system and also the client 
from his father ; and in a strong room in his office, devoted to 
the affairs of the Louison family, there was a tin-box, that 
contained, among other family papers, Mr. Louison's will, 
sealed up and as secret as the grave, until that grave was 
opened for the remains of the testator. 

The elder Eales had been much in the confidence of his 
client, and had said of him that he was a man of most 
generous impulses, yet always apparently fearful of allowing 
his schemes to come to fruition. His imagination always 
pictured danger ahead, and of late years he suspected 
everyone^ whom he met of being in league with the 



THE FOUNDER'S HEIR. 87 

survivors of the Tontine, and consequently his natural 
enemy 

Mr. Louison lived at Maida Lodge, Mayfair, a large solid 
mansion at the corner of a street. It was surrounded by a 
massive stone wall, which enclosed exactly one acre of ground, 
and was as completely isolated as if it had been erected on a 
moor. Its exterior was sombre, but in no sense could the 
house be described as neglected. It was indeed well kept, 
with clean windows and bright brass door and bell handles. 
It had the appearance of an ordinary town house during the 
season, except that its front door seldom opened, and none but 
domestics were seen at its windows. 

The domestics were three in number. Cheriton, a man of 
fifty, with his wife, who acted as housekeeper, and their 
daughter Mary, who was housemaid. A coachman and his wife 
continued to live over the stabling, and assist in the domestic 
work in default of other occupation, for the brougham was 
never used, and the horses had been long since sold. With 
the exception of Cheriton, none of these ever saw their master, 
but Cheriton was his constant attendant. 

Prominent among the numerous body of relatives, friends, 
and acquaintances that professed anxiety for the welfare 
and long life of Walter Louison was Captain Joybell, 
whose devotion to wealth was illustrated by his adoration 
of Cope at the dinner table of the member for Buckton. 
Only the day before the disappearance of Mr. Louison, 
Captain Joybell rose early, and informed the partner 
of his joys — an elderly lady with weak eyes and a hope- 
less disposition — that he intended visiting their relative. 
The relative had been the Captain's guiding star throughout 
the whole of his later years, and had, indeed, attracted him to 
the charms of Mrs. Joybell, when a widow in comfortable 
circumstances, mourning the departure of Mr. Louison's 
younger brother. 

It was on this alliance that Captain Joybell based his hopes 
of future luxury, but Mrs. Joybell, afflicted by a chronic 
influenza, and taking no interest in anything but frilled 
nightcaps and the curtains of her four-post bedstead, 
declined to hope any more. She based her conclusion on the 
fact that Mr. Louison had not been known to speak to anyone, 



88 GOLDEN LIVES. 

friend or foe, for twenty years, and the Captain was obliged to 
admit, in the course of family controversy, that he had only 
once seen his relative, and then he was received with a stony 
stare. 

Still the Captain hoped, and he continued to devise 
innumerable projects for gaining access to one in whose future 
he took an absorbing interest, and whom he was anxious to 
inspire with reciprocal confidence. On this occasion he felt 
sure he should succeed ; but Mrs. Joybell lay with her deaf 
ear uppermost, and said she didn't want to be bothered. 

Captain Joybell's energy was marvellous ; his hope un- 
bounded, and he left his house, which was situated in the 
recesses of Kennington Oval, with a light and jaunty step, 
cutting the air with his cane, and ever and anon glancing 
with pride on his varnished boots and the smartness of 
his shepherd's plaid trousers. He would have had some 
difficulty in defining his relationship, but he was going to see 
his relative. 

The door of Maida Lodge was opened by Mrs. Cheriton, 
quiet, clean, and subdued, with a cheerful countenance and 
hair just turned grey. She had seen Captain Joybell before 
and knew his mission. She showed him into a sitting-room, 
and said Cheriton would be with him immediately. Cheriton, 
however, did not come, and the Captain fretted. He came to 
the conclusion that he was not being treated respectfully by 
Cheriton, and he resented it. His resentment took the form 
of a sortie, for he became suddenly convinced that his relative 
was dying to see him, and was restrained by the evil influence 
of Cheriton. 

The architecture of Maida Lodge was peculiar. The en- 
trance hall was unusually large, paved with marble, and 
having marble columns on each side. Small rooms, with 
comparatively low ceilings, led off from the hall, and at its 
end was a broad staircase that divided right and left half way 
up, and led to the vestibule of the upper floor. This vestibule 
was in the centre of the building, a perfect square, and was 
lighted from the roof. Ponderous black mahogany furniture 
gave it a sombre appearance, and heavy curtains, concealing 
the mahogany doors of the rooms to which it led on three 
sides added mystery to the arrangement. 



THE FOUNDER'S HEIR. 



89 



Captain Joybell issued from the sitting-room in which he 
had waited, crossed the hall, and ascended the grand staircase 
to the upper vestibule. He was astonished to see a little old 
man of singular appearance sitting in the middle of the apart- 
ment with his hat on the floor, and close beside it a leather case 
that he had evidently brought with him. His black frock coat 
was much too large for him, so were his Blucher boots, and 
his black trousers were much worn at the heels. His face was 
unwashed ; he had evidently not shaved for three days, and his 
lank black hair sprinkled with grey, seemed pasted round his 
face so as to hide the ghastly appearance of his left eye, which 
was sightless. He was evidently a nervous man, and from the 
noises he made he seemed to Captain Joybell to have a cold 
in his nose. The Captain was not pleased with the visitor, 
whom he regarded as a conspirator having designs upon his 
relative. 

"Ah," said he to himself, "what a misfortune that my 
relative does not confide in me ! " 




His reflections were cut short by the appearance of Cheriton, 
a small man with a quick eye and a firm manner. Clean 
shaven on the face, bright grey eyes, a high colour and with 
tin' hair of his head cut short, he reminded one of a terrier. 



90 GOLDEN LIVES. 

He was ridiculously active for a servant, and dashed into the 
presence of Captain Joybell as if he were in pursuit of him. 

" Good morning, Cheriton. How's your master? " 

"Much as usual, Captain." 

This was said in a sharp decided tone admitting of no con- 
troversy, and Cheriton stood between the Captain and the 
curtained doorway through which he had come — on guard. 

" Is he there ? " asked the Captain, pointing over Cheriton's 
shoulder with an insinuating gesture. 

"Yes, Captain, I'll tell him you're here if you'll sit down," 
said Cherton still on guard. 

" Oh ! " exclaimed the Captain, somewhat abashed. " You're 
a capital watch-dog — excellent. He's safe with you — quite 
safe." Then drawing closer to Cheriton, he pointed his thumb 
over his shoulder at the stranger and asked, " Who's he ? " 

" Slipper — Mr. Eales's clerk — come with the week's 
accounts." 

" Oh ! " jerked the Captain, as if this most reasonable 
answer had disconcerted him. Slipper was no longer a mystery, 
but the Captain's confidence was not restored. His relative 
was in danger, but the Captain was on the alert. 

No sooner had Cheriton disappeared behind the curtained 
doorway than a brilliant idea occurred to the Captain. He 
would pursue him. 

Withdrawing the curtain he opened the door stealthily 
and entered a large dining-room full of massive furniture, 
and with the walls covered with pictures, but no Cheriton. 
Directly opposite to him was a full-length portrait of Charles 
the "First in a frame eight feet high. At the other end of 
the wall was a companion picture of Queen Henrietta, and 
between them a great canvas, 20 feet in length, repre- 
senting the Arrest of the Seven Bishops. A most imposing 
wall covering — but where was Cheriton? He had vanished 
into space. 

The Captain turned round with a sentiment of fear creeping 
over him. He still looked for Cheriton, although he felt he 
was not there. The remnants of breakfast for one were 
still on the table ; and the sideboard had plate on it. 
But neither master nor man were in the room. A sombre 
ancestral portrait looked down austerely from over the fire- 



THE FOUNDEB'S HEIR. 



91 



place : and on each side of it two large canvasses, companion 
pictures, one representing a shepherdess in ball costume, and 
the other one of those eccentric productions which, in 
addition to representing a legend, depicted the outline of no less 
than twenty human profiles in the rocks and trees, the clouds, 
and even in the garments of the figures. The Captain did not 
see all this. He paid no more attention to this extravagance 
in art than he did to the shepherdess. He was looking for 
Cheriton and Cheriton was nowhere. He walked to the 
window, which was at the other end of the room, and looked 
out into the back garden — a London shrubbery of the best 
possible intentions — but he saw no sign of Cheriton. His 
alarm increased, and as he turned he was seized with something 
approaching consternation at the sight of His Majesty King 
Charles the First advancing into the room, and immediately 
afterwards Cheriton stood before him. 




The gleam in Cheriton's eye prepared the Captain for an 
attack. 

"What do you do here, Sir?" asked the little butler, with 
his hair all on end, and anger in every line of his face. 

" Nothing, Cheriton; positively nothing," urged the Captain, 
whose face had assumed an ashy paleness, while every vestige 



92 GOLDEN LIVES. 

of starch had disappeared from the fabric known as Captain 
Joybell. 

" Excuse me, Captain," said Cheriton, with asperity, "That's 
nonsense, downright nonsense." 

His Majesty Charles the First went back to the wall with a 
bang, and Cheriton pointed to the door. He did not show the 
Captain out as a consistent butler should, but directed him 
with fierce gesture to open the door himself, as he stood 
with his back to Charles the First, a guardian of all 
the mysterious possibilities on the other side of the 
picture. 

It must be admitted that Captain Joybell had a very small 
opinion of himself as he left his relative's dining-room. He 
would not have hesitated to admit that he felt disconcerted, 
and a less interested person would have pronounced his 
appearance despicable. He did not even dare to look Slipper 
in the face as he passed him on the way to the staircase, but 
Slipper gave no sign of life beyond the ever-recurring snuffle, 
and the Captain was rather relieved than otherwise to stand 
once more on the door step beyond the reach of Cheriton's 
denunciation. But his appearance was characterised by a 
nervous and furtive manner arising out of an indefinite but 
still terrible anxiety associated with the temper of his relative 
and the view he would take of this intrusion. 

The Captain's depression lasted five minutes — not more. 
Reflection made it clear that it would not do for him to return 
to Mrs. Joybell with a crestfallen appearance, and the imme- 
diate cause of his discomfiture having passed away, his courage 
began to revive. Its first expression took the form of a 
denunciation of pampered menials, with special reference to 
Cheriton : and in another five minutes he was moving along 
with the air of that figurative personage associated with the 
British Army, who is ready to go anywhere and do anything. 
Such is the effect of imagination working in conjunction with 
a sanguine temperament that by the time he had reached 
home his view of what had occurred, and of the future, had 
assumed a thoroughly rosy hue. 

" My dear," said he, to Mrs. Joybell, " There's a good many 
years in our relative yet. He's a little eccentric, full of 
whims, but vigorous." 



THE FOUNDER'S HEIR. 



98 



The Captain made this announcement with an air of great 
importance, standing with his legs rather far apart, and 
swinging his gold eye-glass. He had brought himself to 
believe implicitly in the accuracy of his statement ; and a very 
little more reflection would have enabled himself to assert that 
he had actually breakfasted with his relative. 





CHAPTEE XIII. 

AN EXTRAORDINARY CASE OF ABDUCTION. 

As soon as Joseph Eales had assured himself 
of the actual disappearance of his client, he 
went to Scotland Yard to procure the advice 
and assistance of the authorities. He was 
introduced to Mr. Slade, one of the most 
trusted members of the force, who came to him 
twirling a bit of string between his finger and 
thumb, and apparently indifferent to every- 
thing under the sun. 

There are some so constituted that they 
believe nothing, and Mr. Slade was one of them. 
He owed his eminence at Scotland Yard to his 
chronic disbelief and his supurb reticence. He 
was quite unlike anything that one associates 
with " The Detective." He was not lynx-eyed, nor clean-shaven, 
nor gimlet-faced. He was decidedly not polished, nor did he 
exhibit the slightest tendency to smartness. He was essentially 
deliberate and easy-going, with red hair and whiskers, rather 
stout, a pleasant countenance, and a mild eye. He would 
have passed for a commercial traveller, a meat salesman, or 
any kind of London shopkeeper. Thoroughly common-place, 
he was eminently calculated to put people at their ease, and 
the most experienced criminal would never have suspected 
Josiah Slade to be a detective. 

Slade listened quietly to the smart young solicitor's story, 
twirled his piece of string, tied a knot in it, and untied it. 
When Eales had finished he looked up, and said, in a quiet 
unconcerned way : 
"A queer go, eh?" 

And he yawned and stretched himself. 

There was a depth of meaning in Slade's remark. Such 
is the infirmity of the common mind, that the word " abduc- 
tion ' ' is associated almost exclusively with the disappearance 
of children of tender years, or marriageable young ladies, with 



AN EXTRAORDINAUY CASE oE ABDUCTION. 95 

obstinate parents. It is seldom even that the mature spinster 
becomes the heroine of abduction, and Slade had never in all 
his experience heard that anyone had thought it worth his 
while to run away with a gentleman of three-score and ten. 
Why should they ? 

It was not often that Blade's scepticism carried him as far 
as this. He did not usually begin his investigations by 
declining to believe in the occurrence of the crime, the perpe- 
trator of which he was asked, in the name of society, to 
pursue ; but this was an unusual case, and he wanted it to be 
made quite clear before he stirred, that there was really 
something to stir about. Accordingly, he said, " Why should 
they?" 

" For a good reason," responded Bales. " Mr. Louison is 
a member of the London Warehouse Tontine Association, and 
over a million of money will come to the survivor of three 
lives, of which he is one." 

" And you think that one of the other two lives would not 
be dissatisfied if his life came to an end." 

" Or their heirs," said Mr. Eales. 

" Ay ! " said Slade, blowing his nose, " and who are the 
survivors? " 

" Miss Winscomb, who lives at Brighton, but never leaves 
her room, and Joshua Cope, a wiry old man, who lives prin- 
cipally in hotels ; and who has many connections. He is 
Schrieber & Co. in the Minories ; and carries on Manure 
Works in Liverpool, Newcastle and Glasgow ; and is a nail- 
maker at Halesowen. He is here, there, and everywhere, 
drinks ruin, and says he means to live for ever." 

" Nice man, Cope," said Slade. 

" He buys all the dead horses and diseased cattle he can 
get," continued Eales, "but there is no cat's-meat sold in the 
places where he carries on business. He makes manure where 
the cattle are slaughtered, and barrels of parboiled meat go to 
London, but the carriage costs more than cat's-meat sells at, 
and we know Schrieber & Co. purvey tinned meats to the 
Navy, and manufacture potted meats for breakfast." 

" Anything more about Cope? " asked Slade. 

" Nothing except that the businesses are all distinct and no 
connection can be clearly proved." 



96 GOLDEN LIVES. 

"You evidently don't like Cope, eh?" said Slade, with a 
broad grin. "What about the heirs? " 

" Cope has none, that I know of; and Miss Winscomb has 
cousins, but she never sees them." 

" We'd better go and look over the place," said Slade. 

As they drove along, he heard more of Mr. Louison's 
eccentric ways, and his curious method of doing business, and 
when Eales admitted he had never seen him, Slade asked, as 
they drew up at Maida Lodge: 

" Then how do you know that he has not been dead this 
five or ten years ? " 

This was a very disagreeable remark, and was made doubly 
irritating by the cool, matter-of-course way in which it was 
uttered. Bales was a lawyer, and recognised the force of it. He 
knew he hadn't a particle of evidence that his client existed, 
beyond Cheriton's statement, and he faltered, as he said : 

" We have been in constant communication ever since my 
father died." 

" By letter. Most people can write now-a-days." 

Eales was dissatisfied with the representative of Scotland 
Yard, especially because he could not take exception to his 
argument, and also because Slade was quite satisfied with 
himself. He hummed tunes, fingered the piece of string, 
yawned, and generally behaved as if his mission were the least 
important thing in the universe. Eales was nettled, and 
asked, in continuation of the conversation : 

" You don't mean to suggest that my client is a myth, eb ? " 

" So far as your own knowledge goes, he has no existence," 
was the answer. 

This also was incontestable, and the lawyer felt the detective 
was teaching him his business. 

"You may have your reasons," continued Slade, "for 
believing there is such a person as Mr. Louison, and his 
name may be in the London Directory, but you've never 
seen him." 

"My father knew him," said Eales apologetically. 

" Yes, twenty years ago. Suppose he had died. Anybody 
could have carried on the correspondence with you and 
pocketed his revenues. Why not? We must stand firm, 
Mr. Eales." 



AN EXTRAORDINARY CASE OF ABDUCTION. 97 

Slade had his hand on the bell as he said this, when Eales 
stayed him. It occurred to Eales that it would be well to 
conciliate the representative of Scotland Yard. Accordingly, 
he said : 

"Let me tell you before you ring that you put the case 
properly from an outside point of view, and that, continuing in 
that line, you must prove Mr. Louison's existence by the 
evidence of his man Cheriton, and so far as I know by Cheriton 
alone." 

Slade nodded, said " Good ! " with an air of complete 
self-satisfaction, and rang the bell. 

The door was opened by Mrs. Cheriton, and Bales introduced 
his companion by name only. 

Slade walked into the house, humming a tune, and stared 
about him, as if he had come to town to see the sights, and 
was seeing them. It was part of his system to rub people 
the wrong way, and see what happened. He said that natural 
philosophy taught him that sparks resulted from friction, and 
sparks sometimes led people to discover fire. He was making 
sparks. 

Mrs. Cheriton explained that her husband was a little 
upset, and was taking some strong broth she had made for 
him. 

"All right, mother," said the cheerful Slade. "Tell us 
what happened." 

Mrs. Cheriton told her story, standing in the hall, while 
Slade sat in a large arm-chair, twirling his piece of string and 
interjecting an occasional " Ay," and " Oh," and a " Just so." 
The solicitor would have preferred an adjournment to a sitting- 
room, but Slade said he rather liked the chair he was sitting 
in, and Eales had seen enough of his companion to know it 
would be better to let him have his own way Mrs. Cheriton 
accordingly, in a quiet, matter-of-fact way, that greatly pleased 
the detective, told how she had, that morning, found the front 
door open, and being alarmed by the circumstance had, on 
investigation, discovered that the stair-carpet was slightly 
disarranged, one of the hall chairs had been displaced, and a 
chair that was usually in her master's library, had been 
brought down into the hall, and there it was before 
Mr. Slade's eyes — a light rocking chair of singular con- 

H 



98 GOLDEN LIVES. 

struction, an early example in conception of many modern 
productions. 

These unusual incidents having excited Mrs. Cheriton's 
alarm, she closed the door and went upstairs. She found 
everything as usual so far as she could see : but she did not go 
further than the dining-room, where Captain Joybell's progress 
had been arrested the day before, because it was an established 
and unalterable rule of the house, that no one was to pass 
beyond that room except in the company of Cheriton, the sole 
attendant of Mr. Louison, whose pleasure it was to refuse 
visitors. 

" Where was your husband? " asked Slade, suddenly. 

"I'm coming to that," replied the housekeeper, who ex- 
plained that Cheriton's non-appearance did not surprise her 
because he slept in Mr. Louison's wing and never appeared 
before eight o'clock. 

" He sleeps in a room behind that door," said Mrs. 
Cheriton, pointing to the door on the right-hand of the 
entrance, going out, " and when I could find nothing upstairs, 
I came down and waited. I was a little nervous, Sir, and 
as I waited, sitting in the chair you have now, I heard a 
dull knocking, and after a bit, a crash of something heavy 
falling." 

" Oh ! " said Slade, beginning to feel interested. 

Mrs. Cheriton said she thought the sound came from her 
husband's room, and she knocked at his door ; getting no 
response she called " Cheriton" as loud as she dared and still 
getting no response, she knocked four times heavily, and after 
a pause, repeated the four knocks. After some time she 
heard what she described as four dull thuds, to which she 
replied by a rapid knocking, and when this was responded 
to by a somewhat poor imitation of her blows, she became 
seriously alarmed, and resolved to get to the other side of the 
door without delay. There were two ways of achieving 
this object, either to proceed by way of Mr. Louison's apart- 
ments or to break open the door which led to Cheriton's 
room. 

Both of these ways, however, were forbidden by the rules of 
the house, and it became a question for Mrs. Cheriton's 
consideration as to whether the circumstances justified a 



AN EXTRAORDINARY CASE OP ABDUCTION. 



99 



departure from established custom. She did not consider 
long, and being desirous of taking a noiseless course, made 
her way, with much trepidation, through Mr. Louison's 
apartments. 

Mrs. Cheriton quite well knew the secret of the Vandyke 
doorway leading from the dining-room into the library. 
She opened it cautiously, and finding no one on the other 
side crossed the chamber diagonally, and opening a door- 
way descended a narrow staircase which led to a set of 
three rooms. In the middle one of these was Cheriton 
lying on his bed with scarcely any clothes on, gagged, and 
with his arms tied right and left to the head of the bed. 
His feet had also been tied to the foot of the bed, but he 




had managed to get one of them free, and it was with this 
that he had been able to make himself heard. By a series of 
jerks, he had moved the iron bedstead in the direction of a 
small chest of drawers and with his foot he had managed to 
pull the drawers out. By rocking the chest backwards and 
forwards he had made the dull noise his wife had heard, and 
the louder noise was made by pulling a top drawer on to the 
floor. 

Mis. Cheriton soon liberated her husband from gag and 
bonds, asking numerous questions the while. Cheriton made 

ii 2 



100 GOLDEN LIVES. 

no answer to her enquiries, bat immediately on getting com- 
mand of speech, asked : 
" Where's the master ? " 
" And what did you answer? " asked Slade. 

"I says I didn't know, Sir, but that things wasn't in their 
places ; and with that me and Cheriton had a look round." 

"Let us have a look round," said Slade, and they all went 
upstairs to follow the route taken by Mrs. Cheriton. 

The Vandyke doorway was open ; and the room beyond was 
a chamber of unusual interest. The walls were literally 
covered with books to a height of seven feet, and above that 
were a series of busts and portraits of the learned of all ages. 
Light came from a large painted window in the ceiling, 
through which, however, the sun never shone, because the 
window was covered outside by a small chamber glazed only at 
the sides. 

Cheriton, who had followed the party into the library, 
pointed out that the doorway to the left led to his staircase, 
and that to the right to Mr. Louison's bedroom, which they 
found was unoccupied. Questioned by Slade, he said he was 
awakened in the middle of the night by three men with masked 
faces, who gagged and bound him, and then went upstairs to 
Mr. Louison's room. He said they were very quiet, but from 
the sounds he heard, he thought they were carrying the old 
gentleman off. 

" What made you think that," asked Slade. 

" What makes anybody think of things that come ? " answered 
Cheriton, with rising indignation. He resented the manner of 
the detective. " I only know what I saw and what I heard," 
he added, " and I know no more about it, except what I've 
seen since." 

"And what have you seen since?" asked Slade, as he 
flecked a piece of dirt off his coat sleeve. 

" Why," said Cheriton, in a boiling fever, " the window they 
got in by " 

" Oh ! " said Slade, " let's see it." And they went down the 
narrow staircase leading from the library, and at the bottom 
they found themselves in a vestibule leading to Cheriton's bed- 
room. Cheriton pointed out that a pane of glass in the window 
of this vestibule had been cut away ; and looking out they saw 



AN EXTRAORDINARY CASE OP ABDUCTION. 



101 



the glass lying on the ground with some pieces of calico about 
it. Slade viewed it with a grim smile, and looked at the mark 
of the diamond on the glass that remained, saw it was on the 
inside, and broke into a broad grin. 

"Now show us your crib, Mr. Cheriton," exclaimed Slade, 
with exasperating indifference. 

The party moved on into the little room, and Cheriton 
explained the way everything had happened so as to confirm in 
every particular his wife's description of what she had seen 
and heard. 

" Now get on the bed, and show us how you did your 
gymnastics," said Slade. 

Cheriton did so, and volunteered to have himself tied up, but 
this was not thought necessary, and they went outside to pick 
up the glass. 




There were six pieces, and attached to one of them was a 
strip of calico, about a yard long ; and one of the other five 
pieces had a piece of calico attached to it, wrapping over 
both sides- The calico had been fixed to the glass by spirit gum. 

"Clever, anyhow," said Slade, as he put the pieces of glass 
into a pocket handkerchief. " Gravel doesn't take footprints, so 
we have nothing more to find here." 

With this he walked indoors, and into the small reception- 
room, where he put the pieces of glass together. The long 



102 GOLDEN LIVES. 

strip of calico was fixed to a piece neither square nor circular, 
about four inches across, and the five other pieces fitted round 
it making nearly the whole pane. One of these five pieces 
with the calico wrapped on both sides, and with a strip hanging 
from it about two feet long, was evidently the second piece 
removed ; the others followed easily, and each had been 
removed by a separate diamond cut made on the inside of the 
window. Slade grinned again, looked hard at Cheriton, and 
said : 

" Lend me your diamond." 

"Haven't got one," was the quick response, whereupon 
Slade shook his head, handed Cheriton a piece of glass, and 
asked him on which side the diamond had passed. Cheriton 
looked at it, and then answered : 

" Both sides : one curve inside, and the other curve outside." 
And so it was. 

" Very clever, indeed," said Slade ; " clever anyhow." 

And then he explained to Mr. Bales that the first piece had 
been cut on the outside, and this having been removed, the 
succeeding pieces had been cut on the inside. 

Then followed a private colloquy between the solicitor and 
the detective, in which the latter pointed out that granted 
collusion between Cheriton and his wife, nothing had occurred 
that could not have been encompassed by them, including 
even the death of Mr. Louison. The first cut on the glass 
had been made on the outside, but Cheriton could have gone 
outside to do it, just as a burglar could have put his hand 
through the first opening to make the subsequent cuts on the 
inside. 

" Then what is your opinion? " asked Mr. Eales. 

" Haven't got one," said Slade, rubbing his face in a 
meditative way. " People have been carried off before 
to-day, and detained in the hope of a reward. Cheriton 
could have carried off his master. His Tontine friends could 
have done so. Anybody could have done it. We'll advertise 
for him." 

They accordingly commenced to draw up an advertisement, 
and having set down the first word, remembered that they 
didn't know what Mr. Louison was like, for the very sufficient 
reason that they had never seen him. 



AN KXTHAOllDINAllY CASK OR AliDUCTIOX. 



10:; 



C'lieritou was called in, and by dint of much questioning it 
was elicited that Mr. Louison was five feet eleven, when he 
stood upright, was grey, but abundant in the matter of hair, 
usually of a forbidding countenance in the presence of others, 
and never spoke if he could possibly avoid it. His dress was 
plain black, with a frock coat, and a tall hat. A gold eye-glass 
was the only sign of jewellery about him, and a less definite 
description was never penned. 

Slade looked upon the case as hopeless unless some accidental 
circumstance occurred to assist him. Cheriton quite agreed 
with him, and privately informed Mr. Eales, with an expression 
of profound contempt for Scotland Yard, that he should go on 
the quest himself. 

"As for him, Sir," said he, "he don't believe no such 
gentleman as the master ever lived," 




CHAPTEE XIV 

DAVID THRESHER REVIEWS THE SITUATION. 

David Thresher could not be induced to interest himself 
in the disappearance of his uncle. A bitter sense of wrong 
saturated his mind, and his soul was in revolt. There had 
been some interviews with Arthur Foyle, some stern com- 
munings with himself, and some moments of unutterable 
rage. Then he took a pen and wrote. Without preface 
or subscription he flung his bitterness on the paper, 
and the name on the envelope alone indicated whom he 
addressed : — 

" I would not write in the first bitterness of my soul, nor 
will I wait until I stand on the ashes of my love. I will not 
upbraid you for an act that most will say was dictated by 
caprice, nor will I charge you with contemptuous indifference 
to the sacredness of the engagement you have contracted. 
Anger, horror, revenge, have each in turn impelled me to 
vindictiveness and language of which I should have come to 
be ashamed. Amazement alone remains to possess my soul — ■ 
amazement even to the feeling of alarm. I cannot reason upon 
your act because I do not understand it. Yesterday I said to 
myself, ' She could not be worthy of a strong true love that would 
live through all enduring time, facing all dangers, and over- 
coming all difficulties, accepting pain and suffering, fighting to 
the last, because the love was true. Then why should I regret '? 
Better that the harsh brutality of the open fact should be 
spread out before me while I am yet free.' To-day I say, 'I 
do not know.' I say I do not know because I cannot think you 
incapable of heroism. To imagine one, whose being has been 
hallowed in the thought, could have been capable of a sordid 
passion is impossible, and my reason falters. What is it that 
has precipitated a step so strange, so unexpected, so abso- 
lutely foreign to a pure mind and a high purpose ? 
I cannot tell. I do not charge you with breaking 
your pledge to me : you never actually pledged 
yourself to me. I cannot say you have been 




DAVID THRESHEE REVIEWS THE SITUATION. 105 

false to your love. You never allowed that you really loved 
me. I admit I have no right to address you in terms of 
remonstrance or reproach : I cannot even claim a right to 
address you at all ; but in the name of the God who made 
us, in the name of the love with which you have inspired 
me, in the name of our common humanity that ever looks for 
something higher and purer than the hand handles or the foot 
treads on : Why have you thrown my idol down ; why 
have you broken the charm with which the deepest passion of 
my nature invested you as with a halo of light and purity ; 
why have you taken a step that the world brands with sordid 
names ; and how could you do a thing that links me with a 
sullied hope and you with a fallen nature ? The world with its 
cold cynicism looks on and grins as it measures out the veil of 
conventional propriety covering the ghastly sight. I could 
have borne your rejection of me not being found worthy. I 
could have claimed honourable regard ,even though you had 
preferred another equal to yourself, as I imagined you ; but to 
be rejected for such a one humbles me, benumbs me with 
consternation, shatters me to the foundations of my being ! 

"And now I must forget you — forget that you have ever 
been. To dismiss you from my thoughts as you are would be 
easy, except that your future must ever awaken my commisera- 
tion ; but to forget an immaculate ideal, incarnate with the 
most perfect form of womanhood, is impossible ; nor shall I 
ever strive to forget, nay I shall ever keep fresh and green the 
remembrance of a form whose presence awakened within me a 
reverent hope, an undying love, and the conception of a perfect 
mind. The hope may be blasted, the love dead, and the con- 
ception false, but they have become to me an aspiration, and I 
will cherish them as a reality that I have as yet missed but 
still look for. — Farewell." 

" And now," said he as he folded up the letter and addressed 
it to Mrs. Cope, " Now my friend, Eales, I can think about my 
uncle." 

Eales was not present, but he was in Thresher's thoughts, 
for the disappearance of his uncle had much impressed him, 
and nothing but the absorbing character of his own misfortune 
would have prevented him from taking immediate action in 
that respect. 



106 GOLDEN LIVES. 

The letter, if it can be called so, seeing it was addressed to 
no one and had no superscription, was a necessary exhalation 
of the mind. The reduction of his thoughts to writing, 
enabled him to understand what he actually did think ; and 
when he had finished he felt relief. Something had happened, 
a crisis had come ; and the future would be coloured by the 
incident ; but he had resolved to put the whole matter aside. 
His success in executing that resolution would depend upon 
events, but at the time he was perfectly sincere in regarding 
this chapter of his life as closed. 

He was curious, however, as to the motive which had 
impelled Isabel, and to this extent his mind was open to 
fresh impressions and his heart to renewed pain. In view 
of the singular relations subsisting between him and those 
with whom he had been associated in business and social 
courtesy, he had resolved to send this note or memorandum 
by the hand of Arthur, between whom and Thresher a strange 
compact had been tacitly entered into, based on something 
stronger than reciprocal tastes — stronger even than love itself, 
for they had joined hands in the bond of a common antipathy. 

Arthur was received by his sister in her own sitting-room 
before noon. It was a charming place, full of tasteful nick- 
nacks, and draped with fabrics of soft texture and pleasing 
colours. Low chairs responsive to an indolent habit, a large 
writing table suggestive of work, reading lamps, an easel 
holding a draped canvass, and books in abundance. This 
room had become a home, and its mistress matched its graceful 
repose. She wore a Japanese robe, loosely girdled, open at 
the neck, and the full sleeves disclosed a pair of oriental 
bracelets. Her hair was loosely knotted at the crown of her 
head, her neck was unadorned, and her brother was startled 
by the freshness of her beauty, no less than by her calm 
repose and self-possession. 

She took him by the hand and said she was glad to see 
him. He responded with a look of admiration and pleasure. 
Then he said : 

" Well, Iz, I'm glad to see you looking so well. I thought 
you'd have been miserable, don't you know." 

"Why? "she asked, somewhat sternly. She remembered 
the cause of the step she had taken, and, although she had 



DAVID THRESHER REVIEWS THE SITUATION. 107 

resolved not to admit it to her brother, or refer to the incident 
her father had disclosed, she felt in a sense aggrieved at her 
brother's remark. She was indeed astonished at his coming. 
His tone and manner did not accord with the fitness of 
things, and she regarded him forbiddingly. 

"Well, you know, Iz, I'm not going to believe, you know, 
you married Cope by choice, you know There's some- 
thing at the bottom of it Thresher and I don't know about, 
and I want you to tell me what it is, because we don't believe 
the governor has been square, don't you know." 

Isabel was seated now, and at the end of this speech, which 
was delivered with some signs of embarrassment, she turned on 
her brother with a look so penetrating that he was startled, 
and began to wonder whether he had said anything amiss. 

"Have you no suspicions?" she asked still more sternly, 
nothing doubting as yet. 

"We have suspicions, you know; but we haven't anything 
we can be sure about, don't you know-" 

"But you?" she asked, " You ? Have you nothing 
certain ? " 

" Why, of course not, else I shouldn't ask," he answered, 
recovering his self-possession. 

"But come now, Arthur, has your father said nothing to 

you — nothing about a difficulty in which you were concerned ? " 

" Xo," said Arthur, " I've been concerned in no difficulty 

that has anything to do with you. Why, I never heard of the 

marriage until it was all over." 

Isabel was perplexed ; then after consideration she asked : 
" But has there been no difficulty about money? " 
"Xo, not a bit." 

Isabel pondered. Obviously deception existed somewhere, 
but she was quite unable to determine where. She more 
than suspected her brother, and believed he was pretending 
ignorance. It was exactly what would happen in the cir- 
cumstances described by her father. Seeing she hesitated, 
her brother broke out with 

" Well, I don't understand the how and the why, nor what 
you mean by thinking me mixed up with the business, but all 
I can tell you is that the governor has been interfering in 
matters that don't concern him, and if you've been influenced 



108 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



by anything connected with me, you've been let in, and it's a 
damned shame, so there." 

Isabel shuddered. Fears of horrible import broke in upon 
her, and she dared not press her brother further. He was 
about to speak when she held up her hand to silence him, and 
said : 

" Stay, let me think." 




And she turned away from him with her brows knit, and a 
look of growing fear and pain upon her face. 

During the pause Arthur was reminded of David Thresher's 
letter, which he drew from his pocket, saying : 

" Here's a letter. I forgot. It's from Thresher, and I 
promised to give it to you." 

She took the letter with a start, and blushed as she held it, 
deliberating for only an instant as to whether she should open 
it. The hesitation was natural, but the conclusion was inevit- 
able. She opened it, and read two sentences as she sat: then 
dashed from the room bidding her brother wait. 

It was well she was alone as she read those fearful words. 
Though every line was written, as it were, with the blood of a 
wounded heart, and the entire spirit of the appeal for light 
and guidance was the cry of a true but shattered love, yet to 



DAVID THRESHER REVIEWS THE SITUATION. 109 

her every syllable was a reproach — a burning, lacerating torture 
of the soul. That she had erred unconsciously did not avail 
her ; that she had erred honourably and generously was never 
thought of; that she had been deceived, and by her father, was 
exasperating, maddening ; but even this was a trivial senti- 
ment compared with the dazzling conception that the letter 
engendered of what she had lost. And to add to the terrors 
of the catastrophe she awakened out of the benumbing agony 
of her soul with the knowledge that she loved. 

And now how was she to act ? Her resentment was deep, 
and would be lasting. That could remain in abeyance ; but 
her sympathy was imperious, and demanded expression. She 
wrote six words : 

" I have been deceived : pity me." 



CHAPTER XV 



MES. COPE'S "AT HOME. 



London Society was much exercised in the height of the 
season as to how Mrs. Cope had come to pass. It was true 
she had been taken up with vigour and determination by 
Lady Arabella, but then Lady Arabella was not averse to 
accepting responsibilities of this sort, and, although very 
careful, she had been known to make mistakes. 

Lady Arabella was the daughter of an earl. She combined 
the possession of a small income with a passion for giving 
entertainments. The two conditions however were incom- 
patible, and as she could not give entertainments herself to 
the full extent of her desires, she was eager to associate herself 
with the inexperienced and ambitious, provided they were also 
wealthy. Mrs. Cope was comparatively inexperienced, and, so 
far as Lady Arabella knew, she was ambitious. She was also 
wealthy, and therefore Society was not surprised. 

How Lady Arabella came to know Mrs. Cope within a week 
of her marriage, and immediately thereafter jump into the 
capacity of a bosom friend and adviser, was one of those 
mysteries the courteous never inquire into, and the censorious 
dispose of with a sneer. Some said she was engaged through 
a Registry Office, and others that Gunter supplied her with the 
ice-creams and waiters. "Whatever the process she was very 
useful, and piloted those she took in hand with energy and 
determination. 

She was not handsome, but tall and angular, with dark 
hair and a harsh voice, well dressed, and forcible in her 
movements ; but when all the arts had done their best she 
was a gaunt specimen of human nature, and an odd person 
to make a friend when grace and fashion were the matters 
in hand. 

Lady Arabella made out the list of invitations, sent out the 
cards, and wrote an enormous number of letters to her dearest 
friends concerning the beauty, the accomplishments, and the 
wealth of dear Mrs. Cope. It was very amusing to society, 



MRS. COPES "AT HOME. 



Ill 



and as society lives to be amused, society took Lady Arabella 
at ber word and made up its mind to respond. Isabel added 
less than a dozen names to the list, and one of them was that 
of David Thresher. 




Lady Arabella engaged a new baritone, whom society had 
lately fallen in love with, and a French conjurer — a decided 
novelty, just imported, whom it was intended to turn on if 
things became dull. All the rest was left to Gunter and the 
Chapter of Accidents. 

The Chapter of Accidents included the vagaries of Cope, and 
they were distinctly an unknown quantity. Cope by this time 
had become a slave to a reckless ambition. He found himself 
surrounded by circumstances not only uncontemplated, but so 



112 GOLDEN LIVES. 

novel to him that he spent all his days and nights in mastering 
their characteristics. He made very little real progress, but 
his eagerness to triumph outstripped his prudence, and he 
resolved to act. 

Distinctly in view of an ultimate purpose he had brought 
himself to endure Jacobs. It is true he hated him with a 
consuming animosity that occasionally found expression, as 
familiarity supervened, in bad language and bootjacks ; but 
Jacobs was the only medium through which he could acquire 
knowledge of the working and intentions of the household of 
which he by the accident of natural evolution had become a 
part. He had at first thought of driving Jacobs out of the 
house, prompted by a feeling of resentment at the intrusion 
upon his habit of exclusiveness. This sentiment is not un- 
common among men whose lives have been marked by strong 
individuality and self-dependence, but Cope overcame his 
repugnance to the demonstrative attentions of Jacobs, just as 
he resisted the temptation to resume his vagrant life. Joshua 
Cope had taken a step and he " meant to go through with it," 
moreover he " meant to win," and therefore he accepted the 
position assigned to him, and watched for his opportunity. 
He admitted to himself he had lost on the first deal, but the 
rubber was not played out. Joshua Cope had no intention of 
admitting to the household, and therefore to the world, that 
he had met with a check, so he had in an upholsterer and 
furnished a smoking room. He felt it would be a long heat, 
and he stripped for it. 

Cope heard of Lady Arabella, and was concerned at her 
advent. Jacobs was a barrier, Jacobs' s sister was a dead wall, 
but Lady Arabella was to his imagination in the nature of an 
impassable gulf. Close on the heels of this news came the fact 
that Mrs. Cope intended giving an "At Home " on Wednesday, 
the 17th, and Cope became a prey to thought. He bit his 
nails ; he smoked costly cigars ; he drank rum ; his life had 
become a chronic nightmare. 

Surrounded, hemmed in, literally dogged by an army of 
domestics, he was never free from intrusion, except when he 
was in bed and asleep, and now he was going to be subjected 
to troops of implacable demons, who, he felt sure, would 
come for no other purpose but to look at him and revile 



MRS. COPES 'AT HOME. 



113 



him. Flight was his only course if he desired peace, but 
Joshua Cope's pride was strong. He smoked more cigars and 
drank more rum. 




It was the morning of the 17th ; and Jacobs observed that 
his master's eye twinkled, that his manner was cheerful, and 
that he conversed freely on the weather, the state of the crops, 
and praised the polish of his boots. Jacobs thought he had 
become tamed, but Jacobs did not understand the idiosyn- 
cracies of wild beasts. 

" I say, Jacobs, is Mrs. Cope about? " 

" Yes, Sir, I believe so." 

" Ah," said Cope, looking at himself in the glass, and 
thinking that he really had improved in appearance, " I want 
to see her. No, I don't. Second thoughts are always best, 
eh, Jacobs ?" 

Jacobs, who was the most solemn person that ever walked 
on two legs, whose face was an arid waste so far as expression 
went, whose garments were without creases, and whose lips 
were without colour, actually smiled, but with the smile of 

wonder. 

I 



114 GOLDEN LIVES. 

"Jacobs," resumed Cope, "a message will do — a message 
after breakfast. I suppose she breakfasts in her own room, as 
usual, eh ?" 

" Yes, Sir, I suppose so." 

The house of a week or two had become a creature of habit. 

The message was a simple one : " Give my compliments to 
Mrs. Cope, and say I shall return at three o'clock to drive with 
her, and that two gentlemen dine with us at a quarter to eight." 

"Yes, Sir," said Jacobs, and the disturbing character of the 
message was shown only by a very slight nervous twitch on 
his left cheek. 

" Eepeat the message," said Cope savagely. He had observed 
the nervous twitch, and resented it. 

Jacobs obeyed. 

" Then deliver it, and see Mrs. Cope is not kept waiting." 

With this he left the house, and Jacobs felt that a crisis had 
arrived. He delivered the message with mechanical accuracy, 
and when he found it was received with apparent unconcern, 
he concluded his reasoning was at fault. Mrs. Cope merely 
told him to see the orders carried out, but when the door had 
closed on him, she and Lady Arabella held a council of war. 

Lady Arabella did not thoroughly understand the situation. 
She accepted the position as it presented itself to her without 
enquiry, and indeed regarded it as in the ordinary nature of 
things, except that she thought Mr. Cope wanting in considera- 
tion. She was, however, enlightened. 

" My dear," said Mrs. Cope, "this is not the trivial matter 
you think it. I am in doubt about these ' two gentlemen.' If 
they should be gentlemen it would not matter, but I am afraid 
they cannot be ; and if not, your friends would be displeased." 

Lady Arabella admitted this to be a most serious matter. 

" What do you propose ? " she asked. 

" We are in the dark," was the answer. " But I would run 
no risk. Rather than do so, I would send for a doctor, and 
telegraph to everyone that I am down with a fever." 

"You can do better than that," said Lady Arabella ; " you 
can receive in another house." 

" Excellent," said Isabel. " But how is that to be done? " 

" Get out the brougham," cried Lady Arabella. " It's half- 
past ten. Time enough for the fever after two o'clock ;" and 



MRS. COPE'S "AT HOME.' 



115 



she rang the bell, ordered the brougham, and strode the 
boudoir like a war-horse. 

Before one o'clock every expected guest had been apprised by 
telegraph that in consequence of an accident in the drawing- 
room of her house, Mrs. Cope would receive at No. 2, Assheton 
Square, formerly the residence of Lady Pomfrey. 

By two o'clock No. 2, Assheton Square, was attacked by an 
army of decorators, and by eight it was a galaxy of light and 
a study of floral beauty. 

In the meantime Mr. and Mrs. Cope had driven in the park : 
he in a spirit of bold vindictiveness, she with cold reserve, 
unimpassioned, and apparently undisturbed. Cope felt he was 
not getting on as well as he had hoped. 

On returning from the drive Isabel enquired : 
" Who are your friends who dine here to-night?" 
"Tonks and Shorter." 
"Who is Mr. Tonks?" 
"An old friend of mine." 
"And Mr. Shorter?" 
"Another old friend." 

" I will receive them in the drawing-room. If they do not 
please me you must excuse me from joining your party." 

Cope bowed low as he did on the day he 
proposed. He was clearly not getting on. 

Tonks arrived in good time. He was a rare 
old salt with a wooden leg, and was dressed 
in a flannel shirt, a waistcoat of blue and 
white stripes, and a pea jacket. His hair was 
abundant, dark brown and curly, his face 
beamed with homely good nature, and his 
beard, just turning to grey, was a mass of 
ringlets like the beard of an aged Satyr. 

" What cheer, my sonny bo-oy," he roared 
as he caught sight of Cope on the stairs. " I've 
come yer see. You'll never find Tonks fail 
yer. Daun me, we've hauled at the same 
ropes for fifty year, and we ain't goin' to chuck 
over now " 
And he went on roaring his complimentary aphorisms in 
unison with the stumping of his leg all the way up stairs and 

i 2 




116 GOLDEN LIVES. 

into the drawing room, where he was received with calm 
serenity by Isabel, whose mere presence charmed him to 
respectful moderation. 

" I hope I see yer well, my leddy," he said, with a wave of 
the left hand to the rear and a circular swing of the wooden 
leg to the fore, his ordinary method of respectful salute. 

"You are welcome, Mr. Tonks," replied Isabel, "but I 
suppose Mr. Cope has told you that I am not able to dine with 
you, as I am engaged elsewhere? " 

" No, my leddy," said Tonks with an appearance of surprise ; 
" and I'm truly sorry to hear as you can't, my leddy," 
and with this he made another salute, gyrating on his left leg 
of flesh and blood, for Mr. Tonks was much impressed with 
the dignity of Mrs. Cope, even to a sense of awe. 

Cope who was a silent witness to this scene had introduced 
his friend with a grin ; he anticipated amusement at his bride's 
discomforture. Her manner, however, and the abashed 
condition of his friend dispersed the grin, and in place of it 
came the keen eager look indicative of repressed resistance and 
anxiety for the future. 

Cope did not understand the situation and was compelled to 
wait. He could do no more than bow when Isabel turned to 
him and said : 

" I am dining with Lady Arabella." 

Bowing was a novelty in his experience, and Cope felt he 
was bowing far too much. He was awakening to the fact that 
he was in a subjective position, and that his bowing was 
the open expression of a moral condition to which he had 
hitherto been a stranger. He did not like it, but he bowed 
nevertheless. 

" You'll dine with more freedom by yourselves, Mr. Tonks," 
suggested Isabel with another gracious smile that completely 
turned the head of the old salt, who made another gyration as 
he exclaimed : 

" This is a proud day for Nathan Tonks, my leddy, to see my 
mate Cope in such a grand house, and you, my leddy, and all 
the rest." 

The necessity for a reply was obviated by the introduction of 
Shorter, to whom, however, Isabel merely bowed on his being 
introduced, and with the simple words, " I will leave you now, 



MES. COPE S 



" AT HOME." 



117 



gentlemen, to enjoy yourselves," she left the room. She was 
not, indeed, fully dressed for the evening, having put on a quiet 
dinner dress for the comedy in which she had just been taking 
a part : and her maid Jacobs was waiting for her in her dress- 
ing-room with a marvellous effort in cream coloured brocade 



ove 



->r which Lady Arabella had spent much anxious thought. 




Cope's dinner was a curiosity. The menu was excellent, for 
it was the cook's ; the service was precise for it was under the 
direction of the impassive Jacobs, but the guests were embar- 
rassed by the variety of the dishes and the number of wine glasses. 
They were also embarrassed with each other, for no parasite ever 
loved a brother, and Nathan Tonks's contempt for Shorter 
approached the sublime. He once reviled his pretensions to 
clerical status, and described him as " a parboiled imitation of 
a sky pilot." The vigour of his criticisms of Shorter caused the 
cunning clerk to preserve a complete silence in the presence of 
Tonks, and this added to the oddity of the dinner, which was 
enlivened only by a series of panegyrics by Tonks on the 
position of his shipmate Cope, and the surpassing grandeur of 
his bride. Later on he reverted to the earlier years of their 
companionship, talked of the old smuggling days, revelled in 



118 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



the recital of contests with the coast-guard, and recalled the 
incident which resulted in the scar on Cope's face. 

"Aye, aye, my sonny boy, stirring times them afore the 
forties," said he. " No such fun now-a-days ; no chance of 
slaps in the face like that o' yourn. All humdrum and 
respectability Daun me if it ain't sickening," and he 
scowled at Shorter as the type of modern degeneracy. 

Shorter resisted the temptation to retort ; and his apparent 
indifference excited the malignity of Tonks, who, after rolling 




his eyes at the clerk for a moment or two, exploded upon 
him a torrent of questions, all calculated, in his opinion, 
to exhibit the debased condition of Shorter and his own 
superiority - 

"What do you know about the forties?" he growled. 
"What can yer know? Who's Shorrocks?" he shouted, 
with an aspect of triumph and menace glimmering through 
the haze of rum that obscured his intellect. The question was 
followed by a gleam of suspicion on the part of Shorter, and a 
lunge on the part of Cope at Tonks's live leg. The effort to 



MBS. COPE'S " AT HOME." 119 

silence him was not successful, and before another could be 
made, Tonks had shouted with additional vehemence : 

"l'ou don't know Omah. How could yer? Why, you 
wern't born in '48. You're a chicken — a ignorant chicken." 

" Tonks," said Cope, with desperate emphasis, " Tonks, 
you're drunk and playing the fool," 

" Ah, maybe, shipmate, maybe," replied Tonks; and then a 
look of cunning passed over his face as he added, " Aye, drunk, 
so I am — very drunk — drunk and dreamin' of old times — 
Shorrocks's times. Ha, ha," he chuckled, " Them was the 
times. No chuckle-headed, white-livered swabs among us 
then. All men, real live men," and he struck the table 
and looked defiantly at Shorter. 

Apart from this episode the domestic situation continued 
to increase in embarrassment for Cope. His dinner was over 
and the reception had not commenced. What had occurred 
to prevent it ? He could not understand what was going on 
in the household outside the dining-room, and dared not ask. 
The fact that he dared not ask was in itself singular upon 
the part of a man whose capacity for daring was his most 
striking characteristic ; but he felt that he had been foiled, 
and he was afraid to ask, because the mere question would 
have been a confession of failure. They had reached the 
rum and cigar stage without hearing any sign of visitors. 
Some carriages had drawn up at the house, but they had 
passed on again. Cope had observed this, and did not 
understand it any more than he comprehended the absence 
of bustle in the establishment. Joshua Cope came to a wise 
conclusion. He got rid of his friends aiid went to bed. 

In the meantime, No. 2, Assheton Square was all ablaze, 
and Lady Arabella triumphant. The people she had most 
wished to come were present, and her hostess and protegee was, 
beyond comparison, the most striking figure in the assembly. 

"It's true the Duchess didn't come, my dear," said Lady 
Arabella in the height of her enthusiasm, " but that would 
have been too much at first." 

The Legislature was pretty well represented, but Mr. 
Crawley Foyle had not received a card. Some were there who 
were to be seen in the very best houses ; but the motives which 
impelled them to come were mixed, and not of the most worthy 



120 GOLDEN LIVES. 

sort. None, however, guessed why the " At Home " was given, 
not even Lady Arabella, nor did she imagine any other motive 
could inspire the breast of one so eminently fitted to adorn a 
drawing-room than a wish to become recognised in society. 

David Thresher came late. The invitation had disturbed 
him. It suggested possibilities which were repugnant to him, 
and his imagination ran riot in the secret recesses of his mind. 
The brief message he had received by Arthur Foyle had 
destroyed all feeling of antagonism to Isabel, and had awakened 
a determined resolution to assist her. His passion for Isabel 
was revived in intensity, was unalloyed by a single selfish 
hope, but was fired by bitter anger towards the authors of 
her unfortunate position. He approached her in the course 
of the evening with every appearance of suppressed emotion, 
and if Lady Arabella had been near she would have made 
a discovery ; for notwithstanding Isabel's power of self- 
control, she blushed and trembled at the touch of Thresher's 
hand. Her welcome was almost a whisper. 

He was satisfied. The pain, the misery, the anguish of 
mind, the bitter contempt were all dissipated ; and for the 
moment he forgot that they were irrevocably separated. It was 
enough for him that she had sent for him, and welcomed him as 
she had never done before — without words it was true beyond 
the common-place, but with the very manner and tone of love. 

" I must speak to you before you go," she said ; " wait near." 

Lady Arabella was bearing down upon them. She was a great 
student of the emotions, and an idea had occurred to her. 

" One of your friends, my dear? " she queried. " Quite a 
handsome man. A perfect treasure, my dear. Nice to have 
men like that about." 

Isabel beckoned David Thresher and introduced him. 

Lady Arabella bowed with becoming reserve. David 
Thresher could have had no conception that she had said 
"such nice things" about him. He made one or two 
common-place remarks, and would have left her, but she, still 
in pursuance of the idea that had occurred to her, detained 
him, told Isabel she had just turned on the French conjuror, 
and left them together. 

Lady Arabella was a dexterous woman ; she knew exactly 
what to say and do, as for instance when people asked her 



MRS. COPE S 'AT HOME. 



121 



" AVhere Mr. Cope was," she answered : " Oh, he's not here, 
doesn't care for this sort of thing : he's thinking of his money 
bags, my dear." 




The French conjuror attracted everybody's attention save 
only two, and Lady Arabella's delight at the expertness of the 
sleight of hand was heightened and capped by the pleasure 
she experienced in contemplating the result of her own 
perspicacity. Lady Arabella was confirmed in her idea. 

" I have but one thing to say," said David Thresher, not 
looking at Isabel, but straight before him after the manner of 
those who hope to conceal from the crowd the earnestness of 
their conversation, " I sympathise with you, and you may 
command me in anything." 

" I know it now," was the reply. " I am going to Brighton 
to-morrow. I shall be on the pier every day when the band 
plays. That's a clever trick," she added, looking towards the 
conjuror. " How delighted everybody seems." 

She hadn't the slightest idea what the French conjuror had 
done, but she was well pleased that others liked it. The " At 
Home " indeed was a great success. Lady Arabella said so, 



122 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



and Isabel was perfectly satisfied. So was David Thresher 
within limits ; but a future had opened up to him. 

Next morning Cope received a letter from his wife. It was 
brief, and a mere record of a domestic fact. It said : 

"Mrs. Cope is going to Brighton to-morrow, with her mother. 
She has undertaken the responsibility of the establishment 
formerly maintained by Mr. Foyle, who will not again reside 
there. A room will always be at the service of Mr. Cope, 
whether Mrs. Cope is there or not. The servants have orders 
to this effect." 

This ought not to have been an exasperating letter, but 
Cope received it when in the act of dressing, and having read 
it, he uttered an expletive, which for rudeness could scarcely 
be surpassed. Not only so, but he changed all his clothes and 
left within an hour for Halesowen. The situation had become 
intolerable. He concluded it would be impossible for him to 
make headway on the lines his bride had chosen ; his only 
chance lay in complete retirement for a time, a review of the 
situation, and an entirely new attack on fresh lines. By way 
of change, he would seek amusement by a few weeks' residence 
among the nailers. He hated them because he oppressed 
them, and he proposed to renew his energy in the con- 
templation of their misery. 








CHAPTER XVI. 

THE LAND OK DEATH. 




Life among the nailers is a 
— ! wizened, battered thing that 
dare not lift its head, where no 
tree grows nor yet a blade of 
grass, where black and barkless 
stumps show to man how life must once 
have been ; where the sun is known to 
shine only because the black dust bites 
the face and cuts the blistered eye, where the 
very ground is black and all the stones are hid 
with grime, and all is gloom and darkness, 
where nothing looks like nature save the night 
and then the stars shine, and those who dwell upon this 
blighted plain feel they live in common with their fellow-men — 
because there is a Night. 

Joshua Cope went down to settle accounts with his nailers 
at Halesowen because he had been worsted and his self- 
esteem needed a tonic. He went where he felt himself strong, 
where he could trample down and lay waste at will. He 
knew the nailers were his slaves and bowed to him because 
they must have bread ; and he let them have an ounce or two 
for fear they should die outright and be no longer useful. 
Like Death he preferred a little life lest there should be 



124 GOLDEN LIVES. 

nothing left to wrench and grind and torture out of being. So 
the nailers were born to work and to die. 

Men talk of life as if it were a living thing ; men talk of 
growth as if it were a force essential, yet here and there within 
this land of plenty and of greatness we are shown that there 
is but one all-pervading power, and that is Death, but 
one triumphant influence Decay. Life after all is but a feeble 
resistance of Death, a mere effort to repel. We fight against 
the all-conquering power from the day of oar birth — we fight 
against the cold that checks and the hunger that kills, but in 
the end we each and all succumb. We help each other in the 
struggle as we have all been helped and shielded and nurtured 
by the mother who bore us and the friend who would have us 
remain, but it is only for a time. Even if one helps to give a 
life to the world it is but another effort to carry on the conflict 
with the one stern, irresistible, all-conquering activity The 
future has much in store for us, but as we see it Life is a poor 
weak thing at the best, and to some it is a barren waste, all 
parched and black and withered. With these Death is in the 
ascendant from the hour of their birth, and to most of them 
the end is Relief. 

Some there be whose sense of being is continuous, who 
rejoice in a Life that is perfect in its strength, beautiful in all 
that encompasses it, and endless in its vista of hope. These 
acknowledge not Death, but as a symbol, and they triumph in 
their Faith. But this is not for those who strive and work in 
endless battling for bare existence in the scenes that men have 
made for those who live by Effort, not by Life itself. Base 
passions and the instincts of the brute exhale from such a soil. 
What can there be of love and hope and gentle culture when 
the little children have no time to weep, much less to laugh ; 
when all that ever is or was or can be in their horizon is the 
cold drear waste of blackness and the ceaseless toil to make the 
little that the stunted lives must have, or die ? 

What life can that be which awakes in a hovel next a forge 
where nails are made, where not a breath of pure and honest 
air can ever work to give to man the life that lives and bursts 
upon the world with all the wondrous works of Life itself? 
For such poor souls Death is pre-eminent, and they struggle on, 
fighting for they know not what, not even cursing fate ; but 



THE LAND OF DEATH. 125 

always striving for the something better — and that the Life 
unknown. 

Cope's warehouse was a dreary building. It might once 
have been a farm house. Perhaps it had known the smell of 
new-mown hay and meadow-sweet. Many years before it had 
been whitewashed, and nails could be found in the walls as if 
a creeper had once grown around the grimy windows. Ruined 
outhouses stood in the rear, and what appeared to be the wreck 
of a threshing mill lay scattered about, mingled with scrap iron, 
broken castings, and other embellishments of desolation. 

Inside his warehouse was Joshua Cope, appropriately dirty 
and full of venom. He stood in the doorway of a large low 
room, smoking, with his hands in his pockets and glaring at a 
strange old man busy packing the nails into bags. 

Ebenezer Warp had a weird face, all seared and yellow 
with straggling locks of hair that would have been white if 
whiteness could have been in such surroundings, and with eyes 
that made one pause. They were almost colourless, but 
fascinated by their immeasurable depth, and the sudden flashes 
that seemed to dart from them at times alternating with weary 
dulness. His back was bent with years and rheumatism and 
his arms projected behind him when he stood as upright as he 
was able. He was always thinly clad, and moved about 
mechanically with his shirt sleeves rolled up above his elbows 
and with an apron of sacking more ragged and shapeless than 
his miserable garments 

" No one's robbin' yer as I knows of, Mr. Cope," he was 
saying in a weird, far-away voice, " I'm not larned, and I can't 
reckon accounts, but I can weigh the nails and give the price 
c'rect, Mr. Cope." 

" And tell lies," was the sardonic rejoinder. 

" No, Mr. Cope, not lies," he said, and then he stood, and 
as he looked at his master there seemed to grow in his face 
a look of imprecation, heroic in its intensity for the moment, 
and then it passed away into blank desolation and he fell to 
filling the bags of nails with the dull weary monotonous motion 
of the mill horse. 

Joshua Cope smoked on and watched as he stood in the door- 
way. He was not ill-pleased ; he was altogether reckless of the 
pain he caused, and the manner of the old man amused him. 



126 GOLDEN LIVES. 

"What's all this," he asked, "about some new warehouse 
being started? " 

" It's not a warehouse," exclaimed Ebenezer excitedly. " It's 
a factory where men can work and earn enough to keep their 
homes in comfort." 

" Oh," grunted Cope. 

"A factory," resumed the old man, "well-built and clean 
and new, where men will get good wages and have a home." 

" What's a home, Neb? " asked Cope with a stolid look. He 
was getting angry. 

The old man turned and his eyes lit up for a moment as he 
answered : 

" A home is a place where the young 'uns are cared for, and 
the old 'uns can get rest o' evenin's afore they die." 

" Oh," grunted Cope, " and who's building this fine place ?" 

Ebenezer shook his head as he walked across the room with 
a bag ; and when he had set it down, he said : 

" A stranger ; an old man, name o' Speezer. A stranger: 
but he's ne'er been hereabouts." 

Ebenezer returned across the warehouse waving his arms as 
much in the air as his bent form would let him, and crying as 
he did so : "A stranger, aye, a stranger." 

The gloom of twilight was coming on, and the small and 
dirty windows of the warehouse admitted little light. The 
old man continued working away — filling and weighing the 
bags, and the long arms spread out and the ragged white hair 
streamed hazily in the gloom. He looked like a spectre 
Joshua Cope thought, and he smoked with vigour to dispel the 
illusion. Presently he began to growl out horrible oaths. 
That reference to a stranger seemed to him to partake of a 
criticism and a rebuke, so he cursed the stranger, and Ebenezer, 
and everybody. 

The old man continued filling and weighing the bags, and 
when he had cleared away and packed up the whole heap of 
nails he swung his arms around in the air and did his best to 
straighten himself. Then, with a weird look at Cope, he lifted 
up his right hand and menaced him from out of the gloom 
with words more terrible than curses and oaths, for the voice, 
though thin and plaintive in its accents, sounded to Joshua 
Cope like inspiration, for the words were true : 



128 GOLDEN LIVES. 

" Ye may curse and curse, Joshua Cope ; you may foul yer 
soul with blasphemy, but ye cannot stop the coming day. I've 
worked here, man and boy for sixty year without a break and 
have only now to die. That's not the life for man to live ; 
it's not the will of God, Joshua Cope ! It can't a be — it can't 
a be, and the curses that you throw at us lie black upon your 
own soul." 

He went out with his coat under his arm muttering as he 
went all the way to his home, and there he found the whole 
family still at work. His daughter hammered at a rod of iron 
making horseshoe nails ; her two girls aged sixteen and seven- 
teen and a boy of twelve were at similar work, and the bellows 
was being worked by a little crippled girl. Their father was 
dead. 

Late that night Joshua Cope made a pilgrimage to the new 
building, and there being no watchman or guard he walked in 
and examined it. The scheme was quite plain to him. At 
one end of the building was a boiler set, and near it the seat 
for an engine. From this extended half a dozen long alleys 
on each side of which were set up little forges. They were all 
furnished with blow pipes, but no bellows. The blowing was 
to be done by the engine, and the air would be driven through 
a coil of pipe in the furnace so that it would reach the fires 
tolerably warm, and the workers had need only to turn a tap 
to get their blow Cope looked upon the idea of saving the 
work-people the trouble of blowing as folly, but there was 
something else at which he became angry. In a compartment 
next the engine there was set up a machine, the purpose of 
which he could not at first comprehend, but on examination 
he found it was designed to produce wrought nails in the 
rough. The rod was inserted between rollers that simply 
squeezed the iron into shape and then cut the nail apart so 
that it needed little more than sharpening. This machine was 
for horse-shoe nails, but there was another for flat-headed nails 
that was only partly built. The scowl on Joshua Cope's face 
as he looked at them gave way after a time, to a malicious 
grin. As he turned to go he came dead into the arms of an 
elderly gentleman of benevolent aspect dressed in a pea-jacket 
and a yachting cap. Cope concluded it was Mr. Speezer 
come on a visit of inspection, and he thought the time oddly 



THE LAND OF DEATH. 



129 



chosen, Mr. Speezer was accompanied by a little man, also 
in yachting costume, who seemed unusually active for his- 
years, and whom the elderly gentleman of benevolent aspect 
called Cheriton. 




K 



CHAPTEE XVII. 

THE LAND OF FASHION. 

Lady Ababella loved Brighton, and naturally sacrificed 
herself for "dear Mrs. Cope's sake" by accompanying her. 
Brighton is, and has always been, a wonderful place. You 
may dress five times a day and promenade a hundred miles a 
week without being remarked on as singular : all your 
neighbours do the same. Isabel gave Lady Arabella a room at 
the top of the house, which she protested was delightful, and 
she was incessant at the toilet and the promenade. 

"My dear, I sympathise with you," said Lady Arabella. 
" Your position, my dear, is difficult. You need someone with 
you who understands the difficulty and can assist you to 
surmount it." 

Isabel was not quite sure that the necessity was urgent, 
and she felt Lady Arabella was a little tiresome, but the 
situation was new, and she thought it prudent to resign herself 
to the intrusion. 

Accordingly, they dressed, perambulated and drove and sat 
on the pier, and generally pervaded the miscellaneous throng 
that ebbs and flows on the shore at Brighton with the 
persistency of the waves themselves, and Isabel found the 
Lady Arabella a complete directory of everybody resident in 
the town, whether temporary or permanent. 

Besidence at Brighton is dictated by various motives. The 
man who draws his nets in Threadneedle Street and likes to 
sleep at Brighton, travels a hundred miles a day between his 
bed and his business, and calls it rest. The Billingsgate Fish 
salesman finds it convenient to sleep near the Monument and 
take his lunch in the domestic circle at Brighton. The 
politician imagines Brighton air productive of ideas, and the 
man of leisure discovers charms in Brighton flirtations that are 
unequalled in any place under the sun. The snob flourishes 
there as a restrained growth during the major part of the 
year, but develops the full efflorescence of his species in the 
season recognised as especially set apart for him. Surrounded 



THE LAND OF FASHION. 



131 



by the objects of his idolatry, he offers them the incense of 
imitation. 

Associated with the aristocracy and aromatic with traditions 
of royal favour, Brighton has become the home of conventional 
propriety. The ladies take everything as a matter of course ; 
the frail and demure are alike circumspect, and Mrs. Grundy 
is triumphant on the surface. The result is at least a decorous 
crowd. 




Isabel had always been given to pensive reflection, and life 
had become more of a riddle to her now than ever. Why she 
was there at all ; the feeling of restraint or depression under 
which she laboured ; the indefinable hope of future happiness ; 
the crushing fear of an intervening catastrophe contributed to 
a condition of quiet reserve, and she endured Lady Arabella in 
much the same way as reasonable people put up with the band 
at a theatre. She listened to the conventional chatter and 
responded absently. Her toleration of Lady Arabella was 
inexplicable on ordinary grounds, and she resisted the temp- 
tation to search for a definite solution of the phenomenon. She 
instinctively refused to look at the truth. She remembered the 
" At Home ;" she remembered her invitation ; she encouraged 
the hope that it would be responded to, and yet all the while 
she dismissed the thoughts and put them aside as if they had 

K 2 



132 GOLDEN LIVES. 

no existence. Lady Arabella was thus a convenient counter 
irritant. 

And as they rode and drove and walked and sat, Lady 
Arabella reviewed the human sea that eddied round them. 
The stout man with the red face and the elaborately curved 
hat was Sir Eeginald Ball, once a Cabinet Minister, but now 
concerned only about the colour of his mail-phaeton and the 
polish of his boots. The lady with the pink complexion and 
yellow hair was Mrs. Bowcher, whose husband was a man- 
milliner in Bond street, and that accounted for the marvellous 
dresses she wore : she advertised the business. The tall man, 
all elbows and stride, was Mr. Richmond Pilcher, a stockbroker, 
who advertised himself. The extravagance of an occasional 
special train to take a friend home to dinner was part of his 
system ; so was his town house, vulgarly magnificent and 
devoid of comfort ; too big for a Duke, but too small for Mr. 
Richmond Pilcher, or at least he said so. 

" They say, my dear, such people are necessary," said Lady 
Arabella, describing this curious development of the 19th Cen- 
tury. " It's very unfortunate, but we must put up with it." 

The necessity for Mr. Richmond Pilcher's existence was not 
quite apparent to more accurate thinkers, and none knew 
better than he how precarious was the footing of the com- 
mercial tight-rope dancer. Upon occasions he persuaded 
himself that he served a purpose in the commercial world, 
and custom, personal extravagance and the fraudulent intent 
of those he served combined to explain if they did not justify 
the ridiculous disproportion between his services and the 
emoluments he exacted. But there he was in the Brighton 
crowd beside many other extravagant examples of modern 
civilisation, such as the young peer who dressed as a 
groom and boasted that he had never entered the House of 
Lords, the decayed financier who lived on the bounty of his 
friends whom he had made rich, the most successful tailor that 
the world had ever produced, and a leading actress accom- 
panied by two coronets and a budding poet. There they were 
as they may be found any day with variations of character and 
quality according to the season ; but all with a decorous exterior 
and the heart and the passions crushed out of life or battened 
down and in any case well hidden out of the way. 



THE LAND OF FASHION. 



133 



On the third day after their arrival, the incident that Lady 
Arabella had expected came to pass. David Thresher was on 
the ;pier in the neighbourhood of the band ; and there was a 
formal greeting with a timid hand-shaking and a brief common- 




place conversation, just as much demonstration, in fact, as 
courtesy demanded, and nothing more. 

" So glad, my dear," said Lady Arabella. " So glad I was 
with you when Mr. Thresher came upon us. So much better. 
My husband blew his brains out because a gentleman was too 
attentive to me. I don't think Mr. Cope is that sort of man, 
my dear, but it is so much better to have some one about who 
can make statements if required." 

" I don't anticipate any statements will be required," said 
Isabel somewhat coldly. 

"No, my dear, probably not," said Lady Arabella pursuing 
the subject. " It is not what should be actually required, but 
what people think and say ; and it is always best to be pre- 
pared. You know Mr. Thresher is very handsome — very " 

The subject dropped. Lady Arabella feared she had said 
too much, and Isabel preferred not to have hints dropped of 
disagreeable possibilities. Silence was natural when each had 



134 GOLDEN LIVES. 

food for reflection, still it was odd that two people apparently 
to all the world the best of friends should be walking side by 
side with a wall of ice suddenly reared between them that 
neither felt able to demolish or even recognise. 

And perhaps the oddest part of this juxtaposition, so common 
in the more highly wrought friction of social life, was the fact 
that nothing that Lady Arabella could say would have altered 
the course of Isabel's mind. The delicious essence of a for- 
bidden hope pervaded every fibre of her being. Her danger 
lay in the fact that she approached the sweet contemplation of 
these grave sensations with the knowledge that there was 
danger in them, and with the proud belief that she was 
superior to all possible evil from such a source. 

So the waves beat upon the shore and the people surged 
upon the beach, and Mrs. Foyle gazed upon her daughter 
wistfully and with a feeling almost of awe. She did not dare 
express the sympathy she felt. She doubted in the helpless 
humility of her nature whether she ought to feel sympathy for 
so great a creature as Isabel. She looked on fearful and amazed. 
So also as the waves beat upon the shore and the people 
surged upon the beach in this little area, the larger world 
swayed on in all the interminable variation of its absorbing 
ambitions, its petty interests, and its boundless passions, 
unknown and uncared for by the promenaders who conceived 
that all the ends of creation were fulfilled if only they dressed 
five times a day and walked decorously - 

David Thresher was among the few whose objects were 
more definite if not more commendable. His resolution to go in 
pursuit of his uncle was abandoned for the time, though not 
wholly. He had not yet construed his immediate purpose. 
He would have confessed to an engrossing sympathy and a 
desire to relieve severe mental distress, nothing more. It was 
imperative, he thought, that he should have at least one 
interview with Isabel that should wipe out all past miscon- 
structions, and if not actually to horoscope the future, at least, 
not to aggravate the misfortune that obscured it. Lady 
Arabella's conception of the necessities of the position resulted 
in the same conclusion, and she took steps to provide an 
opportunity, which should be consistent with conventional 
propriety, and of course within her knowledge. 



THE LAND OF FASHION. 135 

It is difficult to say to what extent Lady Arabella appre- 
hended the true character of her position in relation to " dear 
Mrs. Cope." The habit of living in a given station without 
the means to sustain it results in the cultivation of tastes in 
excess of one's resources, and gradually provokes the victim to 
actions that, without being positively mean in themselves, 
approach the dishonourable, and in the result become despicable. 
Lady Arabella would have been honestly shocked at the sugges- 
tion that she was assisting to provide a pit-fall for a friend in order 
that she might have the credit of relieving her in misfortune, 
but Lady Arabella was doing a good deal worse than this and 
did not know it, only because she declined to think about it. 
" Dear Mrs. Cope " was in a very disagreeable position with a 
wretch of a husband, and she was determined to make things 
as pleasant as possible for her. Lady Arabella therefore had 
a mission. 

When three people conspire together to realise an object 
wholly within their capacity, it would be wonderful if its 
achievement were prevented. Mrs. Cope and Lady Arabella 
met David Thresher on the pier, and Lady Arabella, dis- 
covering she had a headache, found the band rather distressing 
where they sat, and thought she would walk up the pier and 
back. The two remained. A public pier with a band playing 
is not a place for clearing up past misconception and devising 
a future plan of action. What then was more natural than 
the making of a future appointment. 

When Lady Arabella returned she found her two companions 
gravely and silently listening to the band as if they had not 
exchanged a single word during her absence, and in truth the 
words exchanged were very few — about a couple of dozen — 
and Lady Arabella was puzzled to know what had happened. 
She remained in ignorance, but concluded that, an opportunity 
having been given, she had nothing more to do but wait 
events. Her feelings, however, were somewhat ruffled by 
that species of nervous irritation which comes of doubt 
whether one has not been foolishly eager concerning other 
people's business or foolishly neglectful about one's own. 
Lady Arabella, indeed, was conscious of a new sentiment 
concerning her friends. She resented their contentment and 
still more their reticence. 



136 GOLDEN LIVES. 

Still the waves beat on the shore, and the people surged on 
the beach, all unmindful of what was borne on the boundless 
ocean, and blind to the tangled wilderness of hopes and 
ambitions spread beyond that petty strand. The meagre 
horizon within range of the human eye and the human ear 
was strikingly illustrated by the indifference of these Brighton 
promenaders, while events of the first importance to themselves 
were maturing in more than one direction with the resistless 
growth of time. The strange old gentleman of eccentric 
habits, tended by the faithful Cheriton, and mysteriously 
crossing the path of Joshua Cope far away in the Black 
Country was typical in relation to these listeners to the band, 
of the ridiculous limit of man's capacity. Man is regarded 
as a superior animal, but his eminence is reared on an exceed- 
ingly narrow platform. The beasts of the field are conscious 
only of the immediate present with just a dash of memory; 
and philosophers tell us that man is superior to the beasts 
because he has imagination and cooks his meat, but even 
with these qualities he is so little better than the beast 
that when he follows his imagination he pursues a mirage, 
and he usually destroys his meat when he cooks it. There 
is much truth in the saying that few see further than their 
noses, and some at least in that Brighton promenade were 
living in a fool's paradise of the security of ignorance. 



CHAPTEE XVIII. 

A CATASTROPHE. 

The world is governed by jealousy. Some call it love and 
some ambition, but when all is said and done and all philo- 
sophy is exhausted, the motive for all Worldly effort is 
discovered to be jealousy — jealousy of possession ; and is not 
this the mother of all ambition — even the ambition of love? 
What single act of any member of the seething crowd called 
" Society," within its inmost heart, or helplessly whirling in 
its outermost eddies, can be named that does not spring from 
jealousy of the meanest sort ? Its very laws are the product 
of the jealousy of the impotent ! 

The effort of original genius alone is prompted by a higher 
motive than jealousy, for since the world is indifferent to the 
aspirations of genius and laughs at unrealised inspiration 
these efforts excite no concern. The World is not jealous of 
conception. It is fruition, whether of original genius or of 
worldly effort, that alone awakens jealousy ; and this same 
fruition creates copyists by the million, all resentful, eager, 
jealous and therefore active. 

Lady Arabella had never risen to the height of the jealousy 
of the passions, but she had now become a prey to the meaner 
envy of resentment at the happiness of others. She was 
content so long as she controlled the arrangements — so long 
as she was stage-manager of the drama — but she assumed the 
airs of Mrs. Grundy herself as soon as she found the play went on 
without her. She must therefore have recourse to all the petty 
artifices which give piquancy to Society's monotonous round. 

Isabel was reticence itself. She had all her life cultivated 
that charming accomplishment — an intelligent repose, and 
only a surprise would cause her to betray her emotion. But 
Lady Arabella could work and wait. She did work ; was 
immoderately amiable to dear Mrs. Cope, profuse in suggesting 
the precise methods by which time was to be killed during the 
next four and twenty hours, and generally pieced out the 
minutes so as to see which were already appropriated. 



138 GOLDEN LIVES. 

"You look a little pale, my dear ; you should take a drive 
to-morrow — a long one." 

" No, I think not," was the answer ; " I've a little headache 
and feel tired. Some extra sleep will cure that." 

Then, after a pause, Lady Arabella would say : 

" I'm sorry you're worried, dear." 

And Isabel would shrug her shoulders, and answer : 

" I mustn't make the worries worse by thinking of them." 

About four o'clock, Isabel, becoming tired of the attentions 
of her friend, recalled that she had not visited Miss Winscomb 
since her marriage, and went upstairs to make a call. 

She was opposed at the door of Miss Winscomb's apart- 
ments by Martha, who barred the way with menacing gesticu- 
lations, and made it almost impossible for Isabel to advance 
without actual rudeness ; but Isabel saw Miss Winscomb's 
cap towering in the distance over the back of her chair, and 
attributing Martha's demonstration to her L habitual antipathy 
to visitors of all kinds, she put her aside with a graceful smile, 
and greeted Miss Winscomb with another. 

She was met by a stolid stare, and then she realised that a 
change had occurred. 

" I hope you're not ill," she said with concern. 

" No," was the answer, in deep guttural tones. " I'm well, 
very well, but I'm not receiving visitors to-day " 

The old lady's eye glistened as she said this, and she looked 
almost fiercely at Isabel, who answered that she was sorry 
she had intruded, but thought that she was an exception to 
the strict rule. 

"Isabel Foyle was an exception, but not Mrs. Cope," said 
the old lady firmly. "Martha," she added, "didn't I say I 
was ' not at home ' to Mrs. Cope ? " 

"Yes, Miss," said Martha, and both of them fixed their 
eyes on Isabel, the one head as firm as a rock, and the other 
spasmodically oscillating behind it. 

There was only one possible termination to the interview 
after this. Isabel rightly concluded that nothing she could 
say would alter the view her old friend had taken of her 
marriage simply because that view was the product of a 
confirmed prejudice. She did not fully realise this at the 
moment, was a little nettled at the reception given her, and 



A CATASTBOPHE. 139 

her consequent embarrassment caused her to make a some- 
what lame exit. She apologised, the two pair of eyes 
continuing to glare at her, and she left the room with a feeling 
of distress. 

The dinner party that evening was a sombre one. Isabel's 
headache was a reason for her silence, Mrs. Foyle was 
sympathetically quiet, and Lady Arabella was reflecting. The 
situation to her was absolutely incomprehensible, and when 
Isabel retired to her room at ten o'clock, she accompanied her 
on the Christian mission of bearing some portion of her burden. 
That she could acquire not only a portion of it, but the entire 
load, was her hopeless prayer. 

"I'm so sorry you're indisposed, my dear," said Lady 
Arabella. " I did not wish to excite your dear mother's 
apprehensions, but throughout dinner you have looked 
positively ill. "What can I do for you? " 

" Nothing," said Isabel, with aweary sigh. " I have merely 
a headache and feel very tired." 

She sat herself near a side table in a low easy chair with a 
languid air, sighed, and removed a brooch. 

Lady Arabella sighed too. 

" You know, my dear," said she, " I think you are fretting ; 
you are in a sense unconsciously pining ; you think too much 
of what might have been." 

Isabel shrugged her shoulders and said, still languidly, " No, 
I occasionally doubt whether life is worth the trouble, but 
perhaps to-morrow I may think it is," she said, loosening her 
dress. 

" To-morrow ? " queried Lady Arabella, with emphasis. 

" Yes, if the wind isn't still in the east." 

Isabel had let her hair down ; she swept it all back and then 
lay upon it so that it formed a rich back-ground to her massive 
neck and shoulders with the light full on them and the brow 
shaded on the left side, one of those wonderful pictures that 
are seen only in camera, which come to pass by accident ; so 
beautiful and so free from everything suggestive of decay that 
the human form seems something more enduring and more 
pure than the common stuff that men and women are made of. 

Lady Arabella was too practical a person to be envious of 
the possessor of such charms. She indeed experienced a 



140 GOLDEN LIVES. 

passing sensation of admiration, which was dissipated only 
Dy her chagrin at Isabella's reference to the east wind. 

Isabel drew off her rings and then rested her head upon her 
hand, a picture of weariness. Lady Arabella could no longer 
disregard the suggestion. She was profuse in expressions of 
sympathy and regret and left Isabel in the hands of Jacobs. 
Ten minutes later, Jacobs was dismissed for the night and then 
a change occurred. There was no more langour, no sighs, 
no headache, but a vigorous brightness and elasticity — actual 
life. 

Isabel commenced to re-dress herself, not in full walking 
costume, but in a loose robe of maroon silk, quilted with 
down and drawn in at the waist with a girdle. She did 
up her hair in rich rolls, concentrating on the crown of the 
head, and fixed it with a diamond-hilted dagger. She wore 
only a single ring — one that David Thresher had given 
her six months before — five diamonds set in a plain hoop 
— and with noiseless silken slippers on her feet, her toilet was 
complete. 

By this time it was a quarter to twelve and dead silence 
prevailed, broken only by the rolling of the waves and at rare 
intervals the passing of a carriage. Isabel reflected a moment, 
and then moving a small lamp to a table near the window she 
drew the chintz curtain aside so that the light might glint 
through the Venetian blind. She then waited another five 
minutes without any signs of weariness or fatigue, but with a 
calm expression of habitual content upon her face ; and when 
the hands of her watch approached midnight she unlocked her 
door, crossed the hall to the front door of the house, fixed back 
the latch so that the door would open with a push, and placed 
the corner of the door-mat against it so that it would not open 
without pressure. She then calmly walked to her room and 
sat peering through the chink of her barely open doorway into 
the darkness of the hall. 

That indeed was a moment of excitement. Her heart beat 
heavily and she trembled, for although she knew that in a 
single moment she could close and lock her door noiselessly, 
and that the fact of the front door being open would have no 
apparent connection with her, yet the concentration was 
extreme, and the minutes hours. 



A CATASTROPHE. 



141 



But most lovers are punctual, and before the chimes tolled 
twelve, she heard the noise of a pressure on the door-mat. 
She immediately opened her door wide, crossed the hall to let 

in her visitor, and 

pointing him to 

her room, closed 

the front door. In 

a trice she was 

locking her own 

on the inside. She 

then, with extreme 

rapidity, closed the 

chintz curtains, 

lowered the lamp, 

and whispered to 

her visitor, who 

stood just within 

the door, as he had 

entered : 

" Sit down ; but 

do not speak yet." 
She then list- 
ened at a second 

door, from behind 

which she heard 

the heavy breath- 
ing of the constant 

Jacobs. 
Then came a pause, during which, hidden by the gloom, 
she put her hand upon her breast to restrain the impetuous 
beating of her heart and the wild vibration of her nerves. 
The incident she had planned with so much care was accom- 
plished. The risks attending the enterprise had so far been 
evaded ; but the calmness of a strong nature during the period 
of resolute action was followed by tumultuous emotion now 
that a crisis had arrived. The stillness of the night, the 
hour, the necessity for even increased caution added to her 
agitation, but the opportunity was precious, and with a sudden 
impulse she walked across the room put her hand upon 
Thresher's shoulder, and said in low tones : 





142 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



" I have asked you to come here, because I wished to give 
you the fullest proof of my trust in you, and because I could 
contrive no other opportunity for those mutual explanations 
our case needs." 




Thresher bowed, in silence, and then with a sudden impulse, 
he said passionately, with his arms encircling her : 

" Why explain ? Why speak of the miserable past ? It is 
enough for me that we understand each other. I think only 
of the future." 

She did not answer, and he drew her close to him. Folded 
in each other's arms they revelled in the awakening of new 
anticipations. Her lithe and sinuous form, embedded in the 
downy robe, with passionate involutions was embraced by the 
lover of her youth. All the melodramatic speeches they had 



A CATASTROPHE. 143 

framed for each other's edification and their mutual justifica- 
tion in circumstances scarcely in accordance with the pro- 
prieties evaporated ; every prudential consideration was cast 
to the winds and passion rose with the nervous touch, the 
hastened pulse, the wild delirium of the burning kisses on 
those lips that had not yet been sullied by the mercenary 
husband's breath. 

•• I have kept myself for you," she whispered. " Nothing but 
death ean prevent us enjoying the happiness in store for us, if 
we have but the courage to wait — nothing." 

" Your words are indeed comfort to me," he responded. " It 
has been hard to bear, but now we are within hail of the heaven 
of our future ; and, with the hope you give me, to wait is easy." 

•'Oh, God!" she exclaimed, clinging to him passionately - 
" How have I suffered ! The memory of my desolation makes 
me tremble again." 

" And you will be desolate again." 

" No, for I have seen you, my beloved, and I shall know 
that you are waiting for me with loyal hope." 

" Yes, yes, but I'm afraid it will be a weary waiting. Must 
we wait for days that may never come, when the world is 
wide, and love is ours, all ours ? I'm fearful, Isabel, that 
the depth of our love will be our daily trial. Are we really to 
part ? Have you properly estimated your power of waiting ? 
Do you really think you can endure it ? Are you quite safe 
to rely on security from danger? What of those whom we 
must regard as our enemies ? Will not malice devise some 
means of harassing you?" 

" Do not tempt me, David." 

" Dut we may meet sometimes?" he pleaded. "We can 
surely engage in the ordinary courtesies of life." 

" I'm afraid," she answered. 

" Of your husband ? " 

" Xo, of myself, afraid of everything and everybody except 
my husband, whom I despise, because he bought the right to 
tell the world I was his wife — bought it with gilded lies, that 
hid the malice of his thoughts." 

He kissed her on the brow, and answered : 

" Still we must meet, not often, but we must not deny 
ourselves a few precious moments, such as this. Let us part 



144 GOLDEN LIVES. 

for a time — for a month, for two months, or even a whole 
year, only let there be a time to look forward to when we can 
say, ' On such a day we are to meet.' It would be for you to 
choose the time and for me to come whenever and wherever 
you may appoint. I will go away. I will go abroad if you 
wish it. I will treat you with indifference, if we meet before 
the world. I will avoid all actions that may betray our 
relations. I will do anything that discretion may suggest, 
only do not say we may not meet." 

"Have patience. Trouble would come of meeting — more 
trouble than would come of flight, because flight is open." 

" Then let us fly : I'll go anywhere you like to name, and I 
will so arrange that none need know till we are safe abroad." 

" I wish I could." 

" You can. See how easy it would be, and how just. You 
have been wronged more than any woman. You have been 
tricked into a marriage that is not a marriage. You have 
assented only to a conventional alliance. You are not a wife, 
and you have no husband. You have made only a business 
contract, and you are free to cancel it because it was based on 
fraud and deception." 

Isabel merely sighed in response to this impetuous outburst, 
and then whispered, with a gentle pressure of the hand : 

" Still we must wait. There is something you have 
forgotten." 

"And what is that?" 

"My mother. I cannot leave her; she needs me. She 
suffers, too, as much and more than we, for she is weak." 

Thresher was abashed. 

"No," said he, " you must not leave her. We must endure." 

Then they drank again a long deep draught of love, for 
" sweet remembrance," they said, in the passionate incoherence 
of their happiness ; and then they fell to planning for the future 
a series of signs and counter signs, occult methods of commu- 
nication should ordinary correspondence be denied them ; and, 
despite the decorous resolutions of the hour, meeting places were 
agreed on, and times and seasons fixed. Throughout it was under- 
stood Isabel was to be the fugleman ; it was Thresher's part 
only to obey, and he was to come even from the ends of the earth, 
when opportunity was at her command. So they whispered on, 



A CATASTROrilE. 



forgetful of their misery, and, sealing their oaths of love with 
fervent embraces, they revelled in the ecstacy of love. 

But suddenly the delirium was checked by a sound. The 



i^Slr^ 




front door had opened, and a muffled footstep crossed the hall. 

With a look of horror and awakened resolution, Isabel rose 
from the couch on which they sat ; her face blanched ; the 
wreck of lover's kisses in the broken braids of hair upon her 
face ; the deep set frown of resolute purpose on her brow. In 
an instant she had extinguished the light, and after a long drawn 
out moment or two of suspense, David felt her hand upon his 
shoulder, and then her hot breath whispered in his ear : 

" Keep absolute silence. Someone has entered the house. 
My door is locked. On no account stir from here. We must 
watch." 

The suspense was terrible to both of them. Not a sound 
could be heard save the sonorous breathing of Jacobs the 
maid, and this from its monotonous character added to the 
ghostly character of the incident. 

L 



146 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



A feeling as of imminent peril crept over Isabel. It needed 
all her powers of self control and cool common sense to dissi- 
pate the anxiety she experienced. As if to convince herself 
of safety she whispered : 

" No one can enter here. The door is locked." 
" Hush," exclaimed Thresher ; " there's a sound." 
A shambling footstep was again heard as of one slowly and 
cautiously moving across the hall. The person was returning 
no doubt to the door to leave 
the house. Thresher was con- 
scious of the departure of 
Isabel from his side, and the 
slight rustle of her dress indi- 
cated that she had crossed the 
room to the window. Neither 
spoke. 

Looking across the room, 
Thresher could see that Isabel 
had put aside the curtain and 
had raised one of the laths of 
the Venetian blind. Her face 
was dimly lighted by the street 
lamp, and her anxiety was 
shown by the eagerness with 
which she peered through the 
chink. 

As she waited and watched 
the front door was opened. 
This was indicated by a slight 
rattle of the dangling chain. It 
was probably brushed by the 
garments of the intruder and 
hit the door on its recoil. Then 
there was a pause, and there- 
after the door was closed — obviously with the key in the lock to 
prevent the click of the latch. The next moment Isabel saw the 
figure of a man slowly move down the steps from the hall door 
keeping as much as possible in the shadow of the portico. 
" Good God," she ejaculated. " What can this mean ? " 
It was Joshua Cope's figure she saw leaving the house. 




A CATASTBOPHE. 



147 



She waited at the window, watched him cross the road, and 
saw him stand looking at the house. She still waited after 
he had turned and passed out of sight, not with the expec- 
tation of seeing anything further, but considering what she 
should do and say 

It must have been five minutes before she returned to David 
Thresher from the time she had left him. 

" Do not move yet," she whispered ; " it's nothing, but it is 
necessary to be careful." 

* * * * * * 

Next day, at half-past eleven, Mary, the junior domestic in 
the service of Miss Winscomb, met with death in a sudden and 
mysterious manner. Soon after she had eaten her lunch she be- 
came dizzy, and expired before assistance could be summoned. 




L 2 



CHAPTEE XIX. 



THE CONSEQUENT ENQUIRY. 



Dr. Flout was a man of principle, and expected everybody 
else to be guided by principle. He did not care what the 
principles were, whether good or bad. All that he wanted was 
that men should have principles and act up to them. His 
leading principle in life was to be quite sure where he was. 
" Let me know where I am," said he, "'and then I can act." 




Accordingly, when he was called in to see Mary and found her 
quite dead he struck an attitude, placed his right hand on the 



THE CONSEQUENT ENQUIRY. 149 

kitchen table, bent his lank body forward and pinched his blue 
and rugged chin with his left thumb and finger. Then he 
rubbed his hand over his short stubby hair, coughed and 
addressed the world in general as represented by Mrs. Shilton, 
who acted as cook, and Martha whose whole body cmaked and 
shook as she fixed her eyes on him. 

" Now," said he, " in a case like this it is essential to review 
the situation." 

Then lie waved his hand as if he were, giving a professional 
lecture — he always thought he should have been a Professor — 
and added : 

"If you don't define your position you don't know where you 
are. and if you don't know where you are, why, of course, 
you' re lost, and that's a position in which no man of principle 
should be for a moment. Now, I repeat, let us see where we 
are. In the first place, she's dead. That's clear. Then you 
say she was taken soon after eating her lunch half-an-hour ago ; 
that was 11.30. Now where's the food she didn't eat?" 

" Where's the victuals she didn't eat? " repeated Martha in 
sepulchral tones shaking her head at Mrs. Shilton, a widow 
of fifty-five who had the misfortune to be nervous. 

Mrs. Shilton looked sideways at the doctor, holding the 
bottom hem of her apron in her hands, and working it back- 
wards and forwards. 

"There," she said, "them 
crumbs of bread and butter, and 
that drop of beer in the glass." 

"Where did she get them 
from?" 

" From the pantry." 
" Now, there you are," said the 
doctor in triumph. "Lets take 
them back to the pantry and then 
we shall have the whole case clear." 

They did so, and then he locked the pantry door, and put 
the key in his pocket. 

" Now," said he, " as I don't know what the patient died of 
I cannot certify, so I'll report the case to the coroner and 
<jive him the key of the pantry. Then he'll know where 
he is." 




150 GOLDEN LIVES. 

So saying Dr. Flout took up his umbrella, put on his hat 
and strode out of the house as if he were in a violent hurry to 
find out where he was. 

" Mrs. Shilton," said Martha, "you must help me with the 
mistress to-day. She's waiting for us. Come." And then 
she added glaring at Mrs. Shilton, and shaking with unusual 
violence : 

" I came down for Mary, but she's dead. You must come 
instead." 

Mrs. Shilton followed with a scared look, as if she had been 
responding to the summons of an evil spirit, when Martha 
turned and said : 

" Mind you don't say a word of this to the Mistress. I'll 
tell her, and mind what I say." 

With this injunction they entered Miss Winscomb's bed- 
room, and Mrs. Shilton nearly swooned as she heard Martha 
say in her usual monotonous tones : 

" Mary's not very well, Miss, and the Doctor says she must 
lie quiet, so I've brought Mrs. Shilton instead, Miss." 

Miss Winscomb wanted to know what was the matter with 
Mary, and Martha replied that she had eaten something that 
hadn't agreed with her, a reply that may be described as strictly 
accurate. 

Later on in the day Martha paid a visit to her mistress 
and reported that Mary was seriously ill : 

"Nothin' ketchin'," she added reassuringly; "inflammation, 
the doctor says — inflammation of the bowels, and the doctor 
says it's very dangerous." 

" You must take care of her, Martha," said Miss Winscomb. 
" Mind she wants for nothing, and get her well again as soon 
as possible." 

" Thank you kindly, Miss. I'm afraid she won't get over it. 
Mary's very careless, Miss — always was very careless — never 
think's of what she's eating, like you and me, Miss." 

"Unlike you and me, Martha, you mean," corrected Miss 
Winscomb. 

" Do I, Miss ? Well, we're always very careful, Miss, but 
Mary isn't, and she's taken somethink that has not agreed 
with her, and I don't think she'll get over it ; indeed I don't, 
Miss ; she's very bad indeed." 



THE CONSEQUENT ENQUIRY. 



151 



Then in response to sympathetic comments by Miss 
"Winscomb she said : 

" I must leave you now, Miss, I'm going to get some arrow- 
root for Mary. The doctor says she must have nothing but 
arrowroot and milk." 

And so she shambled out of the room, jerking and twitching 
as if she would break her poor old body in pieces, and going 

downstairs she muttered with horrible 
grimaces, clutching the bannisters as she 
jerked herself down : 

" It was poison : the doctor said as 
much ; and it wasn't meant for Mary 
No, no, not for Mary." 

And all that day the old woman went 
about twitching and jerking and mutter- 
ing. It was a wearing time for Martha 
with her shattered nerves and feeble old 
frame, but she never for a moment 
thought of herself. Her devotion to her 
mistress absorbed and controlled all other 
obligations. She was a heroine in her 
sublime indifference to truth, when a 
circumstantial prevarication would save 
her mistress a disagreeable sensation. 
Now and then in her mutterings she 
would say : 

" It was Mrs. Cope. I know it was 
Mrs. Cope. I hate her. We must get 
her out of the house." 

There seemed to be no limit to her 
devotion ; it reached zealotrjr. She went, 
in spite of her infirmities, to the 
butcher's herself, bought the necessary mutton-chops, and 
had them cooked under her own eyes. Her own life she 
regarded as precious only because it was necessary to the 
preservation of her mistress's. She was of the stuff that 
martyrs were made of. She would have walked barefooted 
on red hot iron for an idea, and have gone to the stake 
glaring at mankind in triumph rather than recant. She 
was precisely that class of being that creates by the fanatical 




152 GOLDEN LIVES. 

realisation of their own small part in the small span of 
human life, the larger drama of communities, and nations, 
and epochs. 

And when the case assumed proportions beyond the capacity 
of the local police, and our old friend Slade was brought 
down to put the facts together, Martha took him aside and 
said : 

" Come, before you see anything or say anything, I want you 
to know about mistress." 

And Slade, nothing loth, was led away by the arm and 
was twitched, and jerked, and vibrated into a comfortable arm- 
chair, and Martha sat herself down opposite to him, and 
after a few preliminary gyrations levelled her eyes at him 
and began : 

" Mistress is an invalid, and she's 75, and if she lives 
she'll inherit a mint of money, and there's people wish her 
dead." 

Then came a pause, and the keen eye glistened the brighter, 
and no matter how the head jerked, the eyes fixed the 
placid Slade who waited patiently for more. It came with 
a rush. 

" Mary was my niece, but the mistress doesn't know she's 
dead, and she must not know ; it would be a shock to her ; 
you'll want to see everybody, but as she knows nothing, she 
can tell you nothing, and I thought it best you should see her 
first and then you'll understand." 

Josiah Slade assented. He was, as usual, receptive, and 
disposed to encourage communications. 

"Then," said Martha, "I want you to say you are the 
doctor, and that Mary must be removed to the hospital. Come." 
This rather surprised Slade, who was not used to being 
taken in hand in this peremptory manner, but the force and 
decision of the old woman's character had its natural sway, 
and Slade was led upstairs in a reflective mood, not quite sure 
what he would do or say. 

Martha, however, was quite sure what she would say, and, 
opening the door, with Slade at her heels, she said in solemn 
tones : 

" Mistress Winscomb, here's the doctor ; I've brought him 
to tell you Mary must go to the hospital." 



THE CONSEQUENT ENQUIRY. 153 

" I'm really very sorry to hear it," exclaimed Miss Winscomb, 
who was quite gay on that particular morning, " Is she very 
ill, doctor ? " 

" Seriously," said Slade with a bow. 

" Then do the best you can, doctor, and spare no 
expense." 

So the interview ended, and Slade commenced his investiga- 
tion, not absolutely clear about the rights and wrongs of this 
little comedy in which he had taken a part ; but being then 
only on the threshold of his enquiry, he put the incident aside 
as part of the case for future consideration. 

It took him some time to go through the household in his 
easy-going, undemonstrative way, and when he had come to 
an end of the enquiry he found himself in possession of a 
curious array of facts, several contradictory suspicions, but 
nothing conclusive, beyond the unquestionably solid fact that 
Mary had died of poison. The precise nature of the poison 
was undetermined, and how it had come to be taken by her 
was a profound mystery. Examination showed the presence 
of cyanogen in company with the food last eaten, but nothing 
of the kind was found in the remnants that remained. The 
position of Mary in the household, and her relations with 
everyone about her, forbade the idea that she was the victim of 
malice ; and she had absolutely no connections outside the house- 
hold. There were but two solitary facts to show that she had 
not met death accidentally ; the deadly quality of the poison, 
and the almost positive presumption that it could not inno- 
cently have found its way into the exclusive circle of Miss 
Winscomb's household. The questions Mr. Slade therefore 
asked himself were : "How did the poison get there ? "Why 
was it put there? And who put it?" Or, in other words, 
the method, the motive, and the person, for criminal inves- 
tigation, like moral philosophy, physical science, grammar, 
and theology, resolves itself into a trinity 

Mrs. Shilton's scared appearance and nervous manner 
impressed Slade greatly, but in her case the motive would 
be necessarily inadequate, and would have probably originated 
in mania. Mrs. Shilton, however, had not been outside the 
door of the house for a month, and had received no letters or 
parcels for herself. The poison was probably the Cyanide of 



154 GOLDEN LIVES. 

Potassium, in use among photographers, but she knew none 
of these mechanical artists, and had never heard of Cyanide. 
The scared manner of Mrs. Shilton was put aside along with 
his interview with Miss Winscomb, and the review of facts 
was continued. 

Martha's theory was precise and thorough-going in the 
extreme. She measured out the probable thoughts and actions 
of others in accordance with her own resolute uncompromising 
habit. She laid it down that the poison was intended for Miss 
Winscomb and not for Mary, and she did not hesitate in her 
private interviews with Slade to state her positive conviction 
that the author of the crime was Mrs. Cope. She supported 
her theory by showing motive, opportunity, and immediate 
cause. The wife of a competitor in long life with Miss 
Winscomb was the natural enemy of her mistress. The cold 
reception of the day before gave ground for suspecting special 
animosity, and her residence in the household gave ample 
opportunity. 

This was a remarkable indictment, but Slade was not dis- 
posed to endorse it. His interview with Isabel, commenced in 
the presence of Mrs. Foyle and Lady Arabella, and ending with 
herself alone, gave no results. He was much influenced by 
the belief that a person of her decision of character would not 
have missed her mark so completely by disposing of the wrong 
person ; and he was still more impressed with the fact that they 
had not a single incident to support Martha's theory beyond 
the circumstance that Mrs. Cope was the wife of her husband. 

" That," said Slade, " is not enough." 

Having passed everyone in the household in review, his 
mind reverted to Mrs. Shilton, whose scared manner indicated 
unusual concern. The motive on her part for the act was not 
apparent, but it was part of Slade's system to look for 
abnormal, not ordinary motives. It was consistent, he 
reasoned, that so extraordinary an act as murder should be 
prompted by an equally uncommon motive. It was certainly 
wrong to assume that an ordinary motive should induce so 
extraordinary an act as murder. Pursuing this course of 
reasoning, he was strongly inclined to regard Mrs. Shilton as 
the only person worthy of suspicion, so far as the range of his 
enquiry had extended. Mrs. Shilton was resident in the house, 



THE CONSEQUENT ENQUIRY. 155 

and habitually in the kitchen. She was present during the 
meal which seemed to carry death with it ; and a motive could 
perhaps be discovered. Slade resolved to enquire further as to 
the cause of Mrs. Shilton's timidity and nervousness, and he 
pressed Dr. Flout into the service. 

" Doctor," said he, " I want to have a conversation with you. 
I want you to come into the kitchen with me. I want you to 
stand with your back to Mrs. Shilton so that I may see her 
face, and I want you to follow my lead so that I may see how 
she takes our conversation." 

" Oh ! " said the doctor, " your wants are numerous and 
precise." 

"They are," replied the detective; "I want to see how 
Mrs. Shilton behaves when I say certain things I have put 
together." 

" Do you wish me to say anything? " asked the doctor. 

'• No, sir, unless anything particular occurs to you. I 
propose to ask you questions and see how your answers affect 
the old lady." 

" You must not expect me to assert anything not strictly 
accurate," said the doctor. 

" Xo, certainly not, doctor." 

" Nor admit anything I cannot prove." 

" Of course not ; we will simply go over the ground." 

The doctor was prevailed on, and the detective propped him- 
self up against the dresser in full view of the fireplace, and of 
Mrs. Shilton, taking her tea. 

" Now, where are we ? " enquired the doctor. 

" Nowhere, at present ; " said the detective ; " but we're 
getting on the rails." 

Mrs. Shilton gave a little start, and seemed inclined to 
weep. 

"In the first place, doctor," continued the detective, much 
encouraged by Mrs. Shilton's manner, " it's a clear case of 
poisoning. You say that ? " 

" Unquestionably," said the doctor, stamping his umbrella 
on the floor with decision. 

" Then you say, doctor, that the poison must have been 
taken in the house and in this very room, eh ? " 

" Certainly" 



156 GOLDEN LIVES. 

" You say this, doctor, because the action of the poison is 
unusually rapid ? " 

" No doubt." 

" And, therefore, you assert that the poison must have been 
administered by some one within the house." 

" Unquestionably." 

" And by some one who must have been near about the poor 
woman shortly before her death." 

" Obviously." 

Mrs. Shilton was in the act of swallowing a spoonftil of egg as 
this remark was made ; dazed as she was, the horrible inference 
presented itself to her with startling effect. She nearly choked, 
then swallowed some hot tea, and choked the more. Re- 
covering, she stared vacantly at Mr. Slade, who appeared not 
to notice her, and went on eagerly with his argument : 

" Now, doctor, the poor woman was taking her lunch, here 
at this table. She had eaten an egg and some bread and 
butter, and had drunk some beer ; and she was dead before 
she had finished her beer. That was so, eh, doctor ? " 

"Precisely." 

"Well, doctor, you then say there was no poison in the 
beer, and that the poison in question could not have been 
put into beer without destroying its character ? " 

" Undoubtedly." 

" Then we dismiss the beer ; and we dismiss the egg, 
because people can't get inside eggs ; and we have the bread 
and butter. How about the bread and butter, doctor? " 

" Can't say," said the doctor. " There was no poison in 
what was left ; no sign of it. Nothing ! " he added with a 
snap of his jaw. 

" How much of this material would kill, doctor ? " 

" A minute fragment. A piece as big as a pin's head might 
do it." 

" Suppose such a piece had been dropped on the bread and 
butter ? " 

" That would do." 
" Or put into the spoon ? " 
" That would be more easy." 

" Then," said Slade, with an airy wave of the arm, 
" anyone in the room could have done that ? " 



THE CONSEQUENT ENQUIRY. 



157 



" Unquestionably," rejoined the doctor, who, in response to 
a sudden change in Slade's countenance, turned to look at 
Mrs. Shilton. 




She had risen and was holding on to the mantle-shelf with 
one hand, and was stretching out the other grasping at the air 
as if for support. All colour and expression had left her face, 
and her attitude was that of one suddenly bereft of power. 
Slade thought this the natural effect of his reasoning, and was 
gratified ; he was even elated. The doctor, careless of every- 
thing but professional obligation, turned to assist the poor 
woman, but before he could reach her she had swung round 
and had fallen dead upon the hearth. 



CHAPTEE XX. 



EGG FLIP. 




Nothing in the whole range of social 
phenomena more clearly illustrates the 
finite in man, — nothing is qualified to 
reduce him more completely to a sense 
of his weakness and deficiency than the 
y§r contemplation of a sudden and mysterious 
death. Mr. Slade had achieved the con- 
viction, by a process of reasoning, that 
Mrs. Shilton had poisoned her fellow servant, and on the 
instant of his triumph, the whole of his argument was 
destroyed by an appalling fact, obviously identical in its 
origin with that he was engaged in probing, but which, 
instead of enlightening him, aggravated the obscurity which 
bewildered him. Slade was humbled. 

" Doctor," said he, as soon as the immediate consequences 
of this fresh catastrophe had subsided, " I am not pleased 
with myself. I feel mean." 




Doctor Flout frowned, pinched his chin, and nodded, but 
said nothing. 

Slade was not the egotist that is often created by the 
occupation he followed, and he appreciated to the fullest 



EGG FLIP. 159 

extent his folly in attempting to arrive at a conclusion 
by a mere review of probabilities. He had once been 
a conjuror, and knew that an audience is deceived only 
because an essential fact is hidden. He knew also that 
completed crime was a riddle because the criminal's first 
object was to hide, destroy, or distort the incidents and 
appearances associated with the criminal fact. Slade accord- 
ingly made a fresh start. 

"Doctor," said he, "this is a serious business, a very 
serious business, and I shall not leave this house till I can see 
a clear roadway." 

Dr. Flout nodded again. 

'' Doctor, it's clear they didn't both commit suicide. Do you 
think the second one did ? " 

Dr. Flout shook his head. 

" Doctor," continued Slade, " it's in the food. There can be 
no question of that. We opened the pantry this morning. It 
had been closed ever since No. 1. To-day we opened it and we 
have No. 2. Doctor, we must concentrate on the pantry, and 
as far as I can see we must concentrate on bread and butter 
and eggs. The bread did not come from the pantry. All that 
was there was stale and was thrown away The butter was 
there and so were the eggs. I want you to join with me in an 
inspection." 

They went into the pantry, and in addition to the remnants 
of Mrs. Shilton's tea, they found a crock half full of salt butter 
and two eggs — part of the original store. Slade asked the 
doctor to examine the butter, and he did so by plastering 
it out in thin layers and smelling it. He found no trace 
of the pungent odour of cyanogen, and declared the butter 
innocuous. 

"And what's the use of looking at the eggs?" said Slade 
despondingly, balancing one in his hand. " Fowls don't lay 
poisoned eggs." 

" No," said the doctor, taking up the other. " They don't." 

And the two men each balanced an egg, and each laid it 
down in the plate from which they had taken it, utterly at a 
loss to know where and how to move in the great quest they 
were engaged in. Then they frowned and looked gravely at 
each other, and at the floor and at the ceiling, and gradually 



160 GOLDEN LIVES. 

Slade concluded he was of no sort of use, and that the doctor 
was worse even than himself. 

"You see," said Slade, " I'm not a doctor, and I can't put 
two and two together in poisons. I want to see how the 
poisons was used and then I can move." 

He said this in a spirit of remonstrance. He wanted to 
rouse Dr. Flout to action by irritation, but before the doctor 
could answer the two investigators were startled by the 
appearance of Martha, who rolled her head about with more 
than usual energy as she said : 

" Mrs. Cope and her mother have gone to London. Their 
servants follow in an hour or two. Me and the mistress'll be 
all alone." 

Slade made no response, and the weird figure continued : 

" Do you know where she's gone, policeman? " 

" Yes," said Slade, " she gave me her card." 

" Ah, a blind," said Martha with increased energy, " but she 
doesn't deceive me. No ! " 

Then came a pause. The two men made no response, and 
Martha said : 

" I want some eggs. I want some egg and sherry for 
mistress and egg and brandy for myself." 

" Here you are, Martha," said Slade cheerily, as he handed 
her the plate. " There's only two, Martha, and if you like 
we'll come and help you mix 'em." 

The old woman worked her way to the kitchen, azid they 
followed, Slade bearing the eggs, which would certainly not 
have arrived in safety if Martha had attempted to carry them. 
The situation pleased Slade. It was one of those cases of 
natural movement that sometimes developed important points; 
something akin to tossing a straw in the air. And it was an 
odd sight. A doctor of medicine and a member of the detective 
force assisting a decrepit old maid to make an egg flip. 

They proceeded with much circumstance. 

The utensils were all arrayed before Martha, who broke first 
one egg and then the other in separate cups. Then she smelt 
them according to the custom of the kitchen, and pronounced 
them sound, but suddenly sbe was seized with unusual excite- 
ment, and called the doctor's attention to an extraordinary 
fact. Sunk to the bottom of the cup she had observed among 



F,nn FLIP. 



161 



the albumen two white balls similar to the grains of pearl 
barley in appearance, only smaller and less spherical. The 
doctor looked at them, frowned, and reflected. 

Dr. Flout reflecting was a powerful sedative. No one could 
possibly encourage excitement in the presence of Dr. Flout 
imbued with the professional instinct, not even in a kitchen 
with an audience of two. The reflection was not unproductive. 

"Observe, my deal - sir," said he, " those little white balls 
embedded in the albumen of a boiled egg would be of the same 
colour and apparently of the same density as the white of the 
egg itself." 

" Ah ! " exclaimed Slade, and his eye gleamed at the sight : 
" Fish 'em out." 




The vernacular was offensive to the ears of Dr. Flout, astride 
the forensic charger ; and with visions of future audiences con- 
sisting of the entire nation, he lifted his eyebrows, and said : 

" -Mr. Slade, allow me ! Let us first consider where we are. 
*\Vc have broken an egg, and we have found it presents to us 

M 



162 GOLDEN LIVES. 

nothing singular. We have broken a second egg and placed it 
in a separate vessel, and we have observed that it contains in 
partial suspension two small globules, white and opaque ; and 
we observe that they have no relation to the germinal vesicle 
of the egg, but are wholly separate from it, and obviously a 
foreign substance — a foreign substance, Mr. Slade." 

" How did it get there? " asked the detective, beaming with 
delight. 

" My dear Sir," said Dr. Flout, " we are coming to that. It 
has been put there," he added in triumph. 

" Yes, put there," exclaimed Martha trembling, "put there. 
The eggs have been changed." 

Slade was awakening to a true sense of the position. He 
had sobered down to common matter of fact procedure ; and, 
looking at the simple fact of the discovery of foreign matter in 
an egg, he urged a closer inspection of the globules. One of 
them was accordingly put upon a clean plate, crushed and 
examined. It proved to be a cyanide, and the fragments were 
washed off the plate and gathered in a third cup, partly in 
solution and partly solid, for future more minute tests. An 
examination of the shell of the egg disclosed a small hole 
drilled in the side and afterwards closed with plaster of Paris. 
The work had been done with extreme neatness, and despite 
the horrible consequences of the act, did not fail to excite the 
admiration of the two investigators. Martha, however, gave 
way to passionate denunciation. 

The other egg presented none of these features ; but further 
enquiry showed that the one Mrs. Shilton had eaten had a 
perforated shell, and had no doubt been furnished with the 
fatal globules. 

How had they come there and for what purpose ? 

This was the question Slade had to solve, and the presence 
of a definite quest put him at comparative ease. Up to this 
time he had been absolutely in the dark. He now, however, 
knew what he had to look for, and before the night was out he 
had made another discovery. 

One of the ordinary constables, whose dull intellect had had 
time to resolve the occurrence of two sudden and mysterious 
deaths in three days, informed his superintendent that on the 
night before the first death, he had observed when on his beat, 



EGG FLIP. 



103 



that a tall man, well dressed and with the collar of his coat 
turned up, was observed to leave the house at half-past two 
in the morning and to walk towards the centre of the town at 
a rapid pace as if fearful of heini;' observed. 

ft became Mr Slade s duty to discover this tall, well dressed 
man. 




M 



CHAPTEK XXI. 

" THE SURPRISE." 

David Thresher was, comparatively speaking, at ease. He 
had come to recognise the impossibility of realising his desires 
by any course other than the dishonourable, and he was 
resolved, if not content, to wait. Whatever possibilities had 
presented themselves to him in anticipation of his visit to 
Brighton they were dissipated at the very moment they should 
have come to fruition. He had experienced with crucial force 
the common experience of mankind that the actual, whether 
in controversy or in co-operation, can never be imagined ; and 
that of all the castles in the air that are ever built, those of 
the lover are the most preposterously grand and the most 
unsubstantial. 

The absorbing passion having been assuaged by comparative 
failure, the necessity for delay prompted him to think about 
his uncle, and being reduced to common sense and an every- 
day programme, be sent for Eales; but although the purpose of 
the interview was distinct, David Thresher devoted it to railing 
at mankind in relation, especially to his absorbing passion and 
the infamy of Joshua Cope. He experienced that sense of 
gratified egotism which is always associated with a review of 
one's ill-treatment at the hands of fate. He therefore recited 
with the most minute detail the commercial malpractices of 
Cope, the insufficiency of Arthur Foyle, the treachery of 
Crawley Foyle, and the consequent misfortune that had 
befallen Isabel and himself. 

The consultation was carried on in Thresher's sitting-room, 
where the two, as was common with them, promenaded as 
they talked — declaiming, arguing, denouncing, exalting. 
Thresher was on this occasion in a superlative mood — no 
language was too strong to give expression to his outraged 
feelings, nor would he allow a single fraction of weight to any 
suggested palliative. Eales was naturally more generous, 
because he was not personally interested. He was not merely 
Thresher's solicitor ; he was also and before this his friend. 



" THE SURPRISE." 165 

He directed his energies to enforcing a calmer view of matters, 
and he had the courage to present to his friend the cynical 
view the disinterested take of lovers' woes and generally of the 
misfortunes of others. He showed how absurd it would be to 
pretend that commerce could be conducted on any other 
principles but those of cupidity and greed. 

" You must be careful," said he, "that you do not carry 
your exaltation too far." 

"How can I?" 

" Very easily. An assumption of superiority, however 
justified, is resented by the world." 

" What do I care for the world ? " 

" Nothing probably to-day ; whatever your feeling at 
this moment you will most certainly come to respect the 
judgment of the world and be eager to have that judgment in 
your favour. This is what all men do, however much they 
think they do otherwise. You say you despise the opinion of 
the world, but to-morrow, next day, or a year hence, you 
would no doubt smart if people called you ' priggish.' " 

" Do you think me priggish? " 

" Xo ; but it's not a question what I think, or what you are ; 
it is the appearance you present to the unreflecting and the 
reputation they give you." 

" What appearance do I present then? " 

" Everything that is satisfactory to-day ; but you may by 
your excitement be betrayed into extravagance of expression 
that the ill-informed will misconstrue. Not only should one 
not wash his dirty linen in public ; he should not let anyone 
know he has any to wash. People do not like the man with 
a grievance. They think him a nuisance ; but the man who 
fights in secret and wins they rejoice with, but only when he 
has won, not before." 

" But there is nothing people enjoy so much as a fight." 

" Xo doubt, but it must be a fight — an open, vigorous, active 
fight, for objects they comprehend, and on principles they 
appreciate. I don't think people would care much about your 
views of Schrieber & Co. 's procedure ; and it is just possible, 
indeed probable, they would consider you foolishly nice to 
have retired from a remunerative business because you 
suspected malpractices." 



166 



GOLDEN LIVES. 






" Suspected ? Surely you 
do not pretend it was only a 
case of suspicion ! " 

"Not to us. To me it is 
certain that Schrieber & Co., 
through the ingenuity of Cope, 
supplies diseased cows and 
horses to the British Navy and 
our merchant seamen in the 
shape of preserved meats 
highly seasoned, and elegantly 
labelled ; but you cannot prove 
this legally, and therefore you 
must say nothing. You can 
retire from participating in the 
enormity. This you do be- 
cause you decline to be dis- 
honorable, but that is a 
personal consideration. You 
can go on enquiring and I 
will assist you as I have 
done, until we can light on 
something that will bring 
Cope within the law ; but 
until we do this 
you had better 
keep your own 
counsel, and 
hide those deep 
emotions which 
stir your soul. 



"THE SUBPBISE." 167 

Depend upon it, the public would laugh at your denunciation 
of Cope." 

" I don't care what others think or say, I know only what I 
want, and what I want I would spend my last farthing to 
achieve, even if I blew my brains out afterwards." 

"Then my dear fellow," said Eales, "you would do a very 
foolish thing. The mildest manner critic would say you were 
' Quixotic,' and most people would add something still more un- 
complimentary. Your impulses are creditable and your object 
is commendable, but the self-constituted arbiter of justice is 
always regarded with supercilious contempt by the masses. A 
few think him a hero, but he would be far happier and more 
likely to do good as a social reformer if he left criminals to the 
ordinary operation of the law, and busied himself with con- 
structive, not destructive philanthropy. It is not the purpose 
which is objected to, but the presumption. The public resent 
amateur censorship and laugh at heroics in the individual. If 
Cope's villainy decimated our fleet in time of war, or if he 
poisoned any large section of the community by his trash, 
heroics would be acceptable ; but any assertion on your part 
that Cope makes up diseased animals for the wealthy in the 
shape of potted meat, and for the sailor in sealed tins would 
be disbelieved, simply because Cope would show he disposed of 
his carcases in the form of cat's meat and patent manures. We 
know to the contrary We know that only a small fraction of 
his carcases go in this way, and that the major portion gets into 
the market of human food. We know that his sales of cat's 
meat will not account for all the product of his works in Edin- 
burgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, and Liverpool, but legal proof is 
not as yet forthcoming, and if it were, I don't know how you 
could use it. You do not feel disposed to turn informer? " 

This was a sad damper upon the ardour of David Thresher, 
who had worked himself up to a highly finished state of 
righteous indignation. There was no resisting the blunt 
common sense of his friend, and as he could not combat it he 
dismissed the subject, and introduced the matter they had met 
to discuss. 

" What about my uncle, Eales?/' 

" I believe he is safe, and in seclusion of his own choosing. 
I believe also that when the proper time comes he will 



168 GOLDEN LIVES. 

announce himself to me as if nothing extraordinary had 
happened." 

"Tell me the story," said Thresher, sitting down with a 
return of cheerfulness. 

" In the first place, Maida Lodge has been watched day and 
night ever since Mr. Louison's disappearance and without 
result. The door has scarcely been opened, and no letters have 
been delivered to any one. But a week ago I was sent for by 
the manager of the National Bank to ask my opinion about a 
three months' bill that had been presented for payment by 
their Liverpool Branch for 5G5,000. It had been accepted by 
Mr. Louison and was drawn by Samuel Speezer. It appeared 
to be quite regular and there was nothing unusual about it 
beyond the fact that Mr. Louison had never before to my 
knowledge accepted any bills of any kind. I advised that the 
bill be paid but procured a letter to the manager of the bank 
where the cash would be credited asking that a representative 
of mine might be allowed to remain in the bank until Mr. 
Speezer made his appearance, so that I might be provided 
with a description of him. Next morning I received by post 
a statement to the effect that Mr. Speezer was a tall, 
elderly gentleman, dressed in yachting costume, and that 
he was accompanied by another shorter man, whose descrip- 
tion tallies exactly with that of Cheriton. As soon as 
the two made application for the <£5,000 my agent who 
sat in the rear of the counter as if he were a clerk 
communicated with a subordinate who followed the two men 
to another bank, the Lancashire and Yorkshire, where I have 
since ascertained they opened a drawing account with the five 
thousand pounds in the name of Samuel Speezer. They were 
then followed to the harbour, and in the course of the after- 
noon they took a boat that was waiting for them, and were 
rowed to a three-hundred ton schooner then lying at anchor. 
The yacht is named the Surprise, and she sailed that evening 
for we don't know where." 

" Then you have lost them." 

" Not exactly. The yacht can be traced, but there is some- 
thing more. You know it has always been my custom to send 
in a series of statements of accounts every Monday recording 
the transactions of the previous week. I have continued to 



*' THE SURPRISE." 169 

do this, and the papers have been fetched away from Maida 
Lodge as usual on the following Wednesday, and brought 
back to me. I continued this practice because I am not 
supposed to know who examines the accounts, and also because 
I wanted to test the opinion of Scotland Yard that Mr. 
Louison was his own kidnapper. I found that the papers had 
been opened up and re-tied in a manner different from that I 
had adopted, but a letter addressed to Mr. Louison had not 
been opened, and was returned as I had sent it." 

" Then what do you conclude ? " 

" That Mr. Louison has by some means evaded the vigilance 
of my watchers and has actually returned to Maida Lodge and 
left it again ; that he has means of doing this of which we 
are ignorant ; that he does not wish me to know of his return, 
and therefore did not open the letter addressed to him ; that 
money was necessary to him, and that he has created a three 
months' bill so as to make it appear that he accepted it before 
his disappearance, and that he has opened an account with the 
proceeds in an assumed name. By what means he managed to 
procure an introduction to the banker so as to open the account 
I cannot imagine ; but it is supposed he was introduced by the 
firm from whom he chartered the yacht. The signature of 
Samuel Speezer is not in Mr. Louison's writing, but apparently 
in Cheriton's. The accepting signature is Mr. Louison's 
own, and perfectly regular. I conclude, therefore, that 
Cheriton has signed Mr. Louison's assumed name, and that 
we shall hear very little of them for some months to come 
unless we go after them." 

" How can we do that ? " 

" Very easily. We have only to find where the yacht is 
lying and you can throw yourself in the way as if by 
accident." 

" But the yacht may be off before I can get to the port." 

" Then you must try another." 

" But suppose if I do come up with them they say nothing. 
I should not feel disposed to intrude upon my uncle, especially 
when we know so surely he wants to keep out of everybody's 
way." 

" That point may be considered when it arises, but I conceive 
it to be my duty to look after the interests of my client, and 



170 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



it is his interest at present that his whereabouts should be 
known. Acting for you I have procured the assistance of 
Lloyds' intelligence department to find the yacht Surprise, and 
I feel sure I shall hear before the day is out where she is." 

Eales was right. Before the interview closed a message 
was brought to him from his office to the effect that the yacht 
Surprise was anchored in Lamlash Bay, and David Thresher 
left London for Greenock by the Scotch mail that same night. 




CHAPTEP, XXII. 

A CLUE. 

David Thresher breakfasted at the Tontine Hotel, Greenock, 
next morning, and at ten o'clock he walked along the 
Esplanade towards Gourock, a charming promenade with a 
magnificent prospect, but as there was no one enjoying it, 
1 'avid Thresher supposed the people, through national slow- 
ness of perception, had not yet discovered its beauties, or 
from prudential reasons, were slow to admit a partiality for 
the mild dissipation of a promenade. A telegram had informed 
him that the Surprise had left Lamlash Bay, for the 
Clyde, and as Eales's information was collected by an intel- 
ligent man, who whetted the energies of correspondents by 
promise of a guinea for each sighting of the yacht Surprise, 
David Thresher was further informed that the yacht was 
probably bound for Hunter's Quay, where the Regatta of the 
Phearshon Yacht Club was being held. Possessed of this 
knowledge, Thresher formed a plan. He would go to Hunter's 
Quay, and join, if possible, in a yacht ; he accordingly tele- 
graphed to Eales his address, till further notice, as " The 
Hotel at Hunter's Quay." The next thing was to get a yacht, 
a matter of- some difficulty he feared, seeing it was the height 
of the season. To the westward he descried a man, dressed 
in weather-worn blue, smoking a pipe, with his hands in his 
pockets, as he gazed on the moving tide abstractedly. He was 
an elderly man, and Thresher noticed as he approached him 
that his face was wrinkled with an habitual frown and a 
persistent scowl about his mouth. 

" It s a fine morning," ventured Thresher. 

"Aye," said the smoker, still looking at the water. "It's 
jist that." 

" "Will it be fine to-morrow'? " 

The man looked at him enquiringly, and coming to the con- 
clusion he was serious, he answered : 

" There's nae tellin' ; but it seems a wee bit inclined to he 
saft-like." 



172 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



" Oh ! " said Thresher, who was not quite clear as to the 
import of the remark. Then he asked : 

"Can you tell me where I can hire a yacht ? " 

"What sort of a boat?" 

" Anything, but it must be small ; and steam preferred." 

" When may ye want it ? " 

"Now." 

The man looked at Thresher curiously, then scratched his 
head, and after considerable meditation, pointed out into the 
bay, and said : 




" Do ye see the wee steamer yonder. Will that fit ye? " 

" Yes ; if she's manned and ready." 

" Aye ; she's ready the noo," said the man, and he went on 
smoking and gazing at the little boat as if she were a strange 
object of altogether rare and singular interest. Then after 
much apparent earnest thought, he said : 

" She's the Midge. She belongs, ye ken, to Mr. Buchan, a 



!-> 



A CLUE. 173 

gentleman frao London, and lies away in his cutter, the 
May Bell." 

Then he put his pipe in his mouth again, and gazed away 
across the water, as if he. had settled every question that could 
possibly be raised for the next hundred years. 
After a decent interval, Thresher asked : 

" And how much a month do you think Mr. Buchan want 
for her?" 

"It's no very certain he'd let you have her at all, ye ken," 
was the reply ; and the smoker again relapsed into a state of 
meditation. 

David Thresher by this time found himself confronted by a 
serious psychological puzzle, and he pulled himself together to 
master it. There was a boat that would suit his purpose, and 
the man who was beside him could evidently direct him, if he 
chose, how to acquire the use of it. He made an effort, and 
put what he thought was a very direct question. 

" Who's in charge of her? " he asked. 

" Jest Tarn," was the reply; nothing more, and without a 
smile. 

" And where is Tarn? " 

" Well, I'm no vara certain. Maybe he's aboard and maybe 
no." 

" Does he live aboard ? " 

" Whiles aye and whiles no. Ye ken there's just a wee 
bunk for Tarn, but naething like accoamadation ye ken." 

This information was profusion itself, but Thresher did not 
seem to be progressing in his object. 

He thought he would try a new line, and asked : 

"Whom can I see about her?" 

" See aboot her! " exclaimed the stolid one. "Aye, man, 
and ye must gae to Measter McCloo ; he's got the sellin' 
o her." 

"And where is Mr. McCloo?" 

"Will I tak' yer tae him?" 

" If you please." 

At last the course was clear, and as they walked the wary 
smoker extracted from the frivolous Southron that he was a 
stranger, that he was on an undefined errand, and that he was 
prepared to buy a boat if he could not get one by hiring. 



174 GOLDEN LIVES. 

After a long walk, they reached a shipyard, where they found 
abundance of timber and iron and noise of hammers and 
apparent confusion, and bye-and-bye, after being left alone in 
what appeared to David Thresher to be a waste of desolation, 
the taciturn smoker hove in sight, accompanied by a stout 
man, with a clear eye, and an open countenance, who turned 
out to be Mr. McCloo. 

"You want to buy the Midge ? " said he. 

" I want to hire her." 

"Can't be done." 

"Why not?" 

" Because I have power only to sell. You can make up two 
berths in her, she's got a good galley, and a surface condensing 
engine ; and you can have her for £300." 

Mr. McCloo looked at his customer keenly to see how he 
liked the prospect, and finding hesitation in his countenance, 
advised him to give the boat a trial. If he would favour him 
with his company at the Phearson gathering that night 
at Hunter's Quay, he would introduce him to the owner, 
and they could settle matters between them. Mr. McCloo 
further informed his visitor that he ought to have been 
away with the yachts himself, but that important business 
had delayed him, and if Mr. Thresher would return about 
four o'clock he would steam him across to Hunter's Quay 
in the Midge herself, so that he might get a taste of her 
quality. 

All this was very satisfactory to David Thresher who, to fill 
up the time, took a walk along the high road towards the Clock 
light, and then, out on the Firth, he saw the fleet of yachts 
making long tacks, under a westerly breeze, towards the Holy 
Loch. 

And as this casual tourist looked upon the peaceful and yet 
stirring scene, and revelled in the boundless prospect of bay 
and loch and rippling burn, of glen and moor and forest glade, 
Mr. Slade was, by a process of elimination, coming to the 
conclusion that David Thresher was the only person in any 
way associated with the inmates of Miss Winscomb's house- 
hold answering the description of a " tall and well-dressed 
man," who was also in circumstances that admitted the 
suggestion of a motive for the acts committed. 



A ('LITE. 



17: 



And with the absence of perspicacity common to his class, 
he came to the conclusion that he had what is called a " clue." 
The fact that enquiry showed David Thresher had left his 
house for nobody knew where, confirmed Mr. Slade in the 
conviction that the clue was a sure one. 




CHAPTEK XXIII. 

AN ACCIDENTAL MEETING-. 

David TheeshEe steamed over to Hunter's Quay, later in the 
day, with Mr. McCloo, under the vain impression that he was 
engaging in a commercial negotiation. The sale or chartering 
of the Midge was, however, the very last thing anyone else 
appeared to have in his thoughts. The entire population of 
the bay was bent on revelry, in which he was expected to take a 
part. He found himself the guest of Mr. Buchan, with whom 
he dined on board The May Bell, but whom nothing would 
induce to talk of the Midge, or of anything else other than the 
day's sport, or the Function of the night. 

Life in the estimation of ordinary folk is made up of its 
festivals, and among those who live on board or in sight of 
yachts, the great Carnivals of the year are the Eegattas. 
David Thresher was informed, with much fervour, by the four 
members of the Club, who dined with him, including Mr. 
Dugald, the secretary, a stout man of six feet four, with a 
voice like thunder, that there was no function, that ever had 
been devised to be held, from the foundation of the world, in 
any way to be compared with the Annual Function of the 
Phearshon Yacht Club, of which he was destined to be a guest 
that night. 

In due time he was, with the others, on board the May 
Bell, rowed about a quarter of a mile to a large steamer that 
had been requisitioned by the secretary for the occasion, and 
then David Thresher saw his friend Mr. McCloo taking the 
chair for the night, as Admiral of the Club, for although most 
clubs are content with Commodores, the Phearshon Club 
would be content with nothing short of an Admiral as 
President. 

The Admiral, having swung his mallet in the air, and com- 
manded silence for the anthem, the Secretary led off with a 
Shanty song, imported from the slopes of the South Pacific 
coast, descriptive of the modest ambitions of an A.B., coupled 
with a melancholy refrain of regret at the contemplation of 



AN ACCIDKNTAL MEHTTNCt. 



177 



his dollar and a half a day, which, as the anthem recorded, 
invariahly proved quite inadequate to supply his desires. The 
whole company joined in the refrain, and the ponderous 
secretary swayed to and fro, pulling at an imaginary rope as 
he told with harrowing yells the story of disappointed hopes. 
Tfow long the anthem was capable of being prolonged no one 
could say, as Mr. Dugald had never been known to come to a 
full stop of his own accord ; and it happened on this, as on all 
previous occasions, that the anthem was brought to a sudden 
end, at the very height of its fury, by the descent of the 
Admiral's hammer, an incident that was supposed, according 
to the traditions of the Club, to represent the let-go of the 
anchor. 

The Admiral then proposed the toast of " The greatest 
woman on earth, the Queen, God bless her," and this having 
been drunk, with Highland honours, the Function was 
declared open, and the business of the night commenced. 

The business consisted in the consumption of large potations 
of whiskey and various descriptions of tobacco, varied by the 
telling of sea yarns, and the singing of songs of varied shades 

of delicacy and refinement, the whole 
being gone through with an air of 
solemnity and regard for rule and 
order that few assemblies could 
match. 

It had come to pass that David 
Thresher sat on the left of the Admiral, 
with Mr. Buchan next, and it was 
observed that a chair had been re- 
served on the right of the Admiral for 
someone who was not present at the 
opening of the function. During the 
progress of the anthem, however, a 
hands jme old gentleman, with white 
hair, and a genial smile, was con- 
ducted up the deck to the vacant 
seat, and was heartily welcomed by 
the Admiral as Mr. Kpee/.er, of the yacht Surprise. 

David Threshc observed the incident with great do 
and up to this time it was obvious he had the advantage, 

N 




ight, 
for 



178 GOLDEN LIVES. 

his uncle's attention had been concentrated on the Admiral, 
and the way to get to his seat, while David Thresher had 
wholly escaped his notice, and was able to study the appear- 
ance of his relative, quite at his ease. 

While the pipes and the glasses were being filled, the 
Admiral thought it becoming to introduce the two guests 
to each other on the ground that they had both come 
from the south, and as he did so, a curious look of 
intelligence almost amounting to a glimmer of cunning, 
broke over the face of the old man, so sure was he of 
the completeness of his incognito. He congratulated him- 
self upon the superiority of his knowledge, in no way 
doubting that he alone was informed of the identity of 
his new acquaintance. On the other hand David Thresher, 
having the advantage of a few moments' reflection before 
being formally introduced was able to control his excite- 
ment, and left his uncle in entire ignorance of the fact 
that he was discovered. 

It was easy for him, therefore, to speak by the card, when 
his uncle, with much of the old world courtesy of manner, asked 
him whether he had been long in the north, and whether 
he intended staying long. He answered, with comparative 
unconcern, that he had been somewhat disturbed by some 
disagreeable domestic incidents, and he had been advised to seek 
a renewal of health in the bracing air of the Highlands. 

This answer was eminently pleasing to Mr. Speezer, 
and from time to time he renewed the conversation, when 
the duties of the Admiral permitted, and ended by asking 
him on board the Surprise. 

Mr. McCloo being an eminently genial and hospitable 
person, was greatly delighted at this exchange of courtesies, 
and presently arose from his seat. Having commanded 
silence, he called upon his brother Phearshons to drink a 
toast. Profound silence and expectation followed, and when 
he announced his pleasure at finding the Surprise in the loch 
the sentiment was received with the greatest enthusiasm. 
That she had a new owner in the person of their old friend and 
fellow sportsman Mr. Speezer was a statement that evoked 
another tumult of applause, and David Thresher discovered 
that however much his uncle Louison was a recluse to his 



AN ACCIDENTAL MEETING. 179 

relatives he was to the members of the Phearshon Club a 
rollicking yachtsman. The opinion that the occasion of 
Mr. Spee/or's return to the Holy Loch as owner of the Surprise 
was an occasion for bumpers was loudly echoed. " Bumpers," 
said McOloo, "bumpers, gentlemen, that the Surprise is in 
such good hands, and bumpers that a rare sportsman, who 
knows how to handle the tiller, is among us once more. 
Mr. Spee/.er, gentlemen, the new owner of the Surprise." 

The whole company, rising as one man, yelled with delight, 
roared ''He's a jolly good fellow," mounted the table, 
and, led on by the Secretary, shouted the weird formula of 
the Highland toast. Then draining their tumblers, tossed 
the glasses over their heads, and shouted to the steward 
for new ones to continue the wild orgie. 

Then followed another scene, still more extravagant, but 
all in keeping with the practices of the Club. 

" Phearshons," said McCloo, " I observe a defect in our 
proceedings. The Major is not present. That is a defect we 
must remedy at all cost. I understand the Major is on board 
the steam-yacht Queen of Spades playing poker, and taking 
thick uns off a down south American. It is my duty to 
command the Secretary to select four Phearshons and to 
proceed with them at once, and bring the Major here, 
using no more force than is necessary." 

This order was loudly applauded, and while it was in 
course of execution, a member enlivened the company with 
" Oh, Willie, we have missed you," but the sentiment of 
the song became gradually disguised in a wild lament, 
which, in its turn, resolved itself into " Johnny came 
marching home," as the gig of the Queen of Spades was 
reported in sight. 

Soon afterwards the Secretary and his four myrmidons 
appeared, leading a pitiable object, in the shape of the 
missing Major in his pyjamas of Zebra pattern. He had 
been discovered in his bunk, and had been brought rolled 
up in a blanket. Having swallowed a glass of whiskey, 
he revived sufficiently to apologise for his absence, and 
after his second glass he divested himself of his blanket, 
and danced the sword dance on the table, to the great 
delight of the company. The occasion was altogether a 

N 2 



180 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



memorable one, and stands recorded in the minutes of the 
Club as unprecedented for the length of the sederunt, and 
the vivacity of the proceedings. 




It was three in the morning before the company broke 
up, and to such an extent had the good cheer penetrated 
the heart of Mr. Speezer that nothing would content 
him, but that his new friend, Mr. Thresher, should sleep 
on board the Surprise that night, instead of going ashore 
to the hotel. 

Whether Mr. Speezer would have done this if he had 
known that David Thresher knew Mr. Speezer was Mr. 
Louison, is a matter of extreme doubt. 



CHAL'THlt XXIV 

Ml!. SPEE/ Kit's CONFIDENCES. 

The obvious advantage of turning in on board the Snrjirist' 
to going ashore at three in the morning to an hotel would have; 
weighed with David Thresher in any case, but the special 
reasons lie had for accepting the owner's invitation gave him 
no alternative and he was soon stowed away safely in his bunk, 
with plenty of food for reflection. Circumstances had favoured 
his project, but it was after all no very extraordinary thing 
that he should have fallen in with his uncle ; seeing that he 
went in search of him. The singular thing was that he should 
rind himself actually his uncle's guest, or indeed the guest of 
anyone on so short an acquaintance. Had Mr. Speezer, how- 
ever, been indeed a stranger he would probably never have 
offered him hospitality ; and for the same reason if the offer 
had been made, David Thresher's natural reserve would have 
induced him to decline it. And lying in his bunk, in the 
perfect stillness of the night, he reflected that he was there to 
si une extent under false pretences. He was taking advan- 
tage of knowledge he was not supposed to possess. His 
uncle was perfectly sure of his ignorance of the identity 
of his host ; and the belief that he was entertaining his 
nephew as a stranger gave him intense satisfaction. He 
mentally revelled in the prospect of studying Thresher's 
character as a casual acquaintance. It was precisely one of 
those situations that attracted and absorbed the abnormal 
bent of the Louison mind, and Cheriton afterwards said 
he had never seen his master so cheerful as on that very 
night. 

Cheriton had become a singular object. He had grown a 
short and stubbly beard and moustache, and not content with 
growing them, he had dyed both them and the hair of his 
head, which had been allowed to grow long, a very dark brown. 
This change, with his steward's costume, would have been a 
disguise even to his wife, and would quite have deceived 
Thresher but for the fact that from the knowledge he had 



182 GOLDEN LIVES. 

acquired in London he expected to find him with his master 
on board the Surprise. 

The question that puzzled Thresher was his next step. 
How could he discover to his uncle that he knew him to be 
Louison and not Speezer V He thought over this a great deal 
without meeting with any solution. It worried him, and the 
difficulty, coupled with the lapping of the water on the skin of 
the boat, and the irregular click of some valve open to the 
water-line, kept him in a state of nervous wakefulness, when 
suddenly it occurred to him that it was not at all necessary to 
disclose the fact, but that, on the contrary, it was advisable he 
should respect his host's desire for incognito, and not only 
treat him as Mr. Speezer, but refuse to recognise him in any 
other personality, until he should choose to disclose himself. 
The thought was comforting, and despite the lapping of the 
water and the click of the discordant valve, he fell asleep and 
dreamt of Isabel. 

There were not many stirring by nine o'clock next morning 
on board the yachts at Hunter's Quay, but there was a good 
deal of strong tea, and brandy and soda, being consumed 
below The novelty of the situation, and the fresh air caused 
David Thresher to rise early, and seeing the May Bell was at 
anchor close by, he sent to the owner, saying he would let 
him have a cheque for the Midge if he could make delivery that 
morning. It had occurred to Thresher that to retire from the 
negotiations for the purchase of the little steamer, now that he 
was the guest of another, would have a touch of meanness 
about it, and he felt that he would be a more welcome guest if 
he complimented his host by supplying him with a tender ; for, 
as all the world knows, the perfection of yachting is a well- 
found schooner waited on by a steam-tender. The answer 
came that Mr. Buchan would be glad to see Mr. Thresher at 
one o'clock to lunch. 

Mr. Speezer's welcome of David Thresher at breakfast was 
all that could be desired. 

"I've been thinking, my young friend, it's a good thing to 
have company on a trip like this." 

David Thresher nodded, and Cheriton, who was always called 
" William " on the yacht, gave a start of amazement at this 
extraordinary declaration on the part of a pronounced recluse. 



Mil. Sl'EEZEB'S CONFIDENCES. 183 

" I"ve been sailing now, off and on, for ten years past," 
added the old gentleman, " but mostly in small yachts 
chartered for the season. I've bought this one, and if you 
have no engagements you're welcome for the season." 

David Thresher said he was free for a month and was 
about to complete the purchase of the Midge. The pair might 
run together, and the Midge could tow if the Surprise were 
becalmed. 

Mr. Speezer thought the scheme excellent and fell to talking 
of the Clyde waters, and its superiority for sport to the south, 
and was so full of his past adventures that David Thresher 
began to have doubts about the identity of his uncle with 
Mr. Speezer. His extreme cheerfulness, his jovial temper, 
his animal spirits, and the charm society appeared to have for 
him, all tended to increase the doubt ; but recollection of the 
acknowledged disappearance from Maida Lodge, and the 
undoubted information Eales had acquired connected with 
the purchase of the yacht, brought him to the conclusion 
that he had much to learn concerning his uncle's mode of 
life in the past, little dreamt of by him or anyone else but 
Cheriton, whose amazement, by the way, at this break- 
fast scene, would most surely have betrayed his master 
if David Thresher had not determinedly abstained from 
noticing it. 

" That was a remarkable gathering we were at last night," 
said the old man, and he shook his head with a knowing chuckle. 
"You'd suppose that none of those fellows had ever had a 
care or a thought of anything else but pleasure in their lives ; 
but they had among them some of the cleverest men of 
business in the country — mostly mixed up with iron or 
shipping — but they were all boys again last night ; and they 
always treat me as one of themselves when I'm down here. 
Grand air here ! " 

Cheriton was offering David some fish at this point, and he 
was so amazed at his master's assurance that he gave a sudden 
jerk and knocked over the coffee-pot. There was very little in 
it, but the incident caused the old gentleman to rebuke him 
with the suggestion that clumsiness so early in the morning 
was a bad sign. Cheriton retired. The position of affairs was 
beyond his comprehension. 



184 GOLDEN LIVES. 

By a dexterous turn in the conversation Mr. Speezer induced 
David Thresher to talk of himself. 

" Have you travelled much ? " he asked. 

" No. I have been somewhat peculiarly placed," said 
Thresher, measuring each word. " I have had the care of my 
mother up to a few years ago. Latterly I have got entangled in 
a partnership with a set of rascals, and now I am obliged to 
keep up communication with my solicitor in London, who has 
a family matter in hand that may command my attendance at 
any time." 

" Nothing serious, I hope." 

" I cannot tell how it may end. It concerns a relative whom 
I have never seen, and whose desire for seclusion I feel bound 
to respect ; but as I am his nearest relative, I may be called on 
at any time, in his behalf, and for that reason, I can accept 
your invitation only on condition that we put in at some port 
every two or three days." 

" To be sure," said Mr. Speezer. "We'll touch land every 
day ; and that you may know my programme, I propose to go 
south to Holyhead and then as far north as Stornoway." 

All this being amicably agreed on, David Thresher went 
ashore for his baggage, sent a telegram to Eales that he was a 
guest of Mr. Speezer's on board the- Surprise, and gave "Post 
Office, Holyhead," as the next address. 

The relationship of the host and guest was now clearly 
established. What the issue would be was a matter of curiosity 
to both of them, but it was clear to David Thresher that although 
he was the better informed he must on no account force his 
uncle's hand, but continue to treat with Mr. Speezer only. 

His next business was to go on board the May Bell and 
conclude the purchase of the Midge. He found Mr. Buchan 
very busy teaching a Scotch terrier to walk on one leg ; and his 
two friends were lying about the deck with that perfection of list- 
lessness which is the envy of active minds and the unattainable 
medicine for most of the ills of nineteenth century life. 
There was a third visitor on board, the hero of the blanket 
of the night before. The Major had, by some mistake, been 
returned to the wrong boat, at the close of the function, 
and he had refused to leave the May Bell until they had 
fetched his clothes. In all probability, the episode would 



MR. SPEEZER "S CONFIDENCES. 185 

have future development, but what happened was not a matter 
of concern to anybody in the loch that day, least of all to 
the Major. 

Thresher's object was to conclude his bargain and to return 
to the Surprise, but Mr. Buohan showed a decided objection to 
discuss business and ordered lunch to be served. It was served 
accordingly and disposed of, and then, with a supreme effort, 
the owner of the Midge spoke to David Thresher as a buyer. He 
told his visitor that while three hundred pounds was the price 
put upon the Midge, he understood Mr. Thresher was a man who 
did not haggle, but paid what he was asked, and therefore the 
price to him was two hundred and fifty. 

An hour afterwards the Midge was transferred to the 
new owner, men and all, and the Surprise, with her 
tender, set sail for the south. 

They made Lamlash Bay that night, and the crew 
turned in with the knowledge that the anchor would be 
weighed at five in the morning. Mr. Speezer enjoyed 
the company of his visitor extremely that evening, plied 
him with numerous questions as to his likes and dislikes 
and gazed at him through the smoke after dinner with 
intense satisfaction. Once after a long pause, he said — 

"Very quiet here, eh? No callers; no intruders, perfectly 
safe, eh?" 

David Thresher assented, without showing any special 
appreciation of the fact that he knew what was uppermost 
in his uncle's mind. He merely said it was pleasant to 
be away from the world for a time, and then relapsed 
into more vigorous smoking. The old man next broached 
the question of reading, said he had quantities of books 
on board — three unopened packing cases full, besides what 
was on the shelves, and gave his new found friend the 
run of them. Said he — ■ 

" I have been collecting facts illustrating the distribution 
of wealth — not the precious metals or capital which is 
only a measure of accumulated wealth, but the distribution 
of the means of using the produce of the soil in the shape 
of food and clothing." 

He paused, and contemplated the smoke as it rose. David 
Thresher waited, and presently the old man said : 



186 GOLDEN LIVES. 

" I've made considerable progress, but I don't see that I can 
do much good with the facts when I have got them." 

Thresher nodded, and waited for more. It was obvious there 
was more, and he was much interested in the occupation of the 
old man, so much so that he almost disassociated him from the 
uncle of mysterious seclusion and regarded him only as Mr. 
Speezer of recent acquaintance. The old man continued : 

" I have been much struck with the fact that while hundreds 
and thousands of people are daily able to provide themselves with 
every luxury the world can produce, no matter in how distant 
part of the world it is produced, yet there are many more 
thousands who have to labour incessantly to get the coarsest 
food and the poorest clothing ; and millions beside, still in 
a state of primitive barbarism. The question that troubles 
me is, How can this be mended?" 

Thresher nodded again. 

" You want to know why it troubles me," resumed the old 
man, with a smile, " and why it should trouble me. I answer, 
merely because I find — looking on, for I take no part in these 
matters openly— that the state of matters I have described is 
used as a handle by demigods to excite the people for no useful 
purpose. I find the wealthy, who have everything they need, 
use it to excess and to their injury, and the poor, who have as 
a rule, the meagre portion too frequently are prodigal in times 
of plenty, whenever they come ; and I can therefore see no 
advantage in an indiscriminate levelling, but I am very deeply 
impressed " — and here the old gentleman became earnest and 
impressive — " very deeply impressed, with sights I have seen, 
and which, if you like, I will show you, of whole territories of 
our own country, filled with a population, not a single man or 
woman, or child of whom can be said to be either in feature or 
habit as God designed them to live, and fighting for a bare 
and squalid subsistence in circumstances that nothing but the 
brute instinct in man can make preferable to death itself." 

The old man resumed his pipe, and both smoked on in 
silence. The sentiment was quite in accordance with 
Thresher's own feelings, but he refrained from anything like 
warm approval for fear he should give ground for a suspicion 
of servile commendation. 

" There should be a remedy," said he. 



Mil. spbezee's confidences. 187 

" There should," said the old man, fiercely, " but there isn't. 
There is no natural remedy save that which I hope time will 
bring. We live in houses built of bricks. Have you seen 
the people making them — the men, women, and the children ? 
They are not human ; they are mere animals, and 
their earnings are despicable. You would be disposed 
to pay more for your bricks to help them, but if you did 
the extra pay would not go to the workpeople, nor should you 
pay more for bricks than people offer them at. If you did 
this, all commerce would be disarranged, and while it is 
doubtful whether the workpeople would profit by your generous 
impulse, the consequence of your action would be either 
trifling, temporary, and comparatively useless, or positively 
injurious, because all artificial remedies of social evils are 
productive of special evils of their own. I know this from 
experience, because I have tried several processes." 

Mr. Speezer said this with determination. Indeed he 
almost snapped at his guest as if he had contradicted him. 
After a pause he continued reflecting : 

" Yes ; I've tried it, tried it in the nail district. I'm trying 
a new plan now. You shall see in a day or two, and if you 
can help me, I shall be very glad of your assistance." 

David Thresher said he would be very happy to assist as he 
quite sympathised with Mr. Speezer. 

" Then look you here," exclaimed the old man, with a look 
almost malignant in its intensity. " There's an accursed 
villain of the name of Cope in Halesowen that I am resolved 
to ruin, because the scoundrel robs the poor wretches who 
work for him. It is not that he pays them poor wages, but 
that he actually cheats them." 

David Thresher became enthusiastic at the prospect of 
bringing Joshua Cope to book, and explained why He told 
about his partnership, the- action of Crawley Foyle, described 
the marriage, omitting the tender interest he had in the event, 
and generally denounced the actions of Cope in language 
that excited in the mind of the old gentleman the liveliest 
satisfaction. 

The bond of union was complete, and Mr. Speezer almost 
embraced his guest. For an instant, but only for an instant, 
he looked at Thresher with an eve that seemed to herald a 



188 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



confession, but the look faded and the thought that created 
it resolved itself by a knowing shake of the head, and a 
self-satisfied smile : 

"We shall be friends, Mr. Thresher — comrades," said the 
old man, as they parted for the night. " I'm glad I have 
met you." 




CHAPTEE XXV 

BY SEA AND BY LAND. 

Some assume that it is a happy circumstance in our lives to be 
denied the knowledge of misfortune after it has become imminent 
or accomplished ; but it is a nice question whether that 
ignorance can be said to be blissful, which consists only in 
an absence of a knowledge of impending danger, or of a 
misfortune that must sooner or later be faced. 

It was a grey fresh morning when the Surprise turned out of 
Lamlash Bay and went before a smart north-wester down the 
Firth. The schooner was goose-winged as she passed the 
Holy Isle light, but as soon as she laid her course for the Mull 
of Galloway a puff came from the Whiting Bay shore and with 
sheets slightly hauled in and every stitch drawing, her lee rail 
dipped in the white eddies. The wind backing two or three 
points was rather in her favour, and as they hauled further off 
the island they met a slight swell from the southward, which the 
Surprise seemed to recognise as she lifted to each long roller 
with a sympathetic swing. On the port-bow Ailsa Craig loomed 
up lonely and severe through the haze of the early morning. 

David Thresher was early on deck to taste the caller air, 
bare-footed and lightly clad. The bracing wind, the speed, 
and the novelty of the situation were eminently calculated to 
exhilarate. Life he felt was worth living ; and much of the 
depression, consequent upon the incidents of the previous few 
weeks, evaporated, and hope established itself in the form of a 
possible schooner of the future, with Isabel on board and 
barriers to perfect happiness obliterated. The sentiment of 
hopefulness continued throughout the day, and was at its 
height as they sat at noon in the stern. The heat of the sun 
was tempered by the bracing wind, and the Surprise was still 
going her best when a strong disposition seized upon Thresher 
to declare his knowledge of his uncle's identity with his host. 
Still he could not contrive the mode, and contented himself by 
reciprocating the cheery manner of the old man and waiting on 
events. 



190 GOLDEN LIVES. 

Events were ripening apace. The placid Mr. Slade was 
whistling and humming snatches of the popular airs of his 
youth in Scotland Yard, happy in the belief that he had a 
surprisingly clear clue. The continued absence and unknown 
whereabouts of David Thresher was, in his opinion, a profound 
confirmation of his theories. Slade had a clue but no track, 
for David Thresher's letters were in accordance with invariable 
custom in case of his absence carried to Eales, and Eales in 
accordance with the methods of his profession knew nothing. 
Eales, however, was at the very moment of David Thresher's 
most perfect repose writing him a letter that was calculated to 
rouse him to something approaching madness. 

Still he was happy, and happy because he was ignorant. 
His isolation was complete ; and surely there is something 
humiliating in the reflection that man in all his pride is ever 
circumscribed within the area of his touch and vision, and that, 
being so, he may be lightly employed at the very moment his 
whole future shall have been blighted by an occurrence of 
which he must of necessity be ignorant for many days. 

The boat sped on all gaiety and brightness, and, acting in 
accordance with his invariable policy of mystification, Mr. 
Speezer changed his scheme of the night before, and ordered a 
straight course for Douglas, Isle of Man. He explained to 
Thresher that if they landed on the island early in the 
morning, they could cross to Liverpool by steamer and get 
to the Halesowen district by the evening, could see what he 
wished by noon the next day, and return to Holyhead in the 
evening. He instructed the Skipper accordingly, and the 
programme so arranged was carried out with such expedition 
that the two tourists were able to leave Dudley in a four-wheel 
dog-cart at seven in the morning. Fresh from the moss and 
heather of the north, the black desolation of the nail country 
struck Thresher with peculiar force, while the aspect of the 
people aroused the deepest sympathies of his nature. 
" Look at them ! " said the old man, " it's very bad." 
' ' D amnable, ' ' said the other ; ' ' literally the work of the Fiend . " 
" Yes ; but it's a good thing to see scenes like this. It 
steadies one. It's different from Piccadilly and Pall Mall, but 
it's a part of the life we live, and in closer connection with 
wealth and luxury than we suppose." 



BY SEA AND BY LAND. 191 

"All ! " said Thresher, " and where's the Kemedy? " 

" That's the difficulty. It's not in alms : they would get 
drunk. It's not in legislation : that would simply force, 
unnatural growth and change the character of the evil. I am 
about to try the effect of competing with my friend Cope by 
working at a loss. The process is economically vicious, but it 
is only an error on my own part — no worse than an error of 
judgment, and the workpeople all about here will be better off 
without knowing that the cause of their improvement is based 
upon unsound political economy." 

The old man laughed as he said this, and Thresher said : 

" And it amuses you." 

" Yes, it amuses me, and it does more. I'll make a confession ; 
I'm in the humour to make confessions, my friend." Here 
he slapped Thresher on the back in good naiitical style as he 
faced round and said, " look you, my friend. I shall annoy 
Cope by doing this. It'll irritate him, worry him, make him 
mad. Ha ! ha ! That also is economically unsound, but 
what does it matter if it amuses me and benefits the people ? 
Cope's a ruffian, my friend. He's doing wrong. Why, it's 
dramatic justice." 

The old man laughed aloud as they walked along the dreary 
road with the blackened stones and the coal dust path and the 
blighted tree stumps. Laughter other than drunken outbursts 
was never heard on that fearful plain. Humour was exotic to 
the nail district. 

" You agree with me — you approve, my friend?" enquired 
the old man. 

" Oh, yes. It seems tome," said Thresher, "that nature 
will settle the question of itself without any artificial 
intervention." 

"How' J " 

" By killing the whole lot off." 

" No ; there you're wrong. They are all thin and miserable, 
but the strength of those who survive childhood is enormous — 
phenomenal. They're all bone and sinew. They haven't a 
scrap of unnecessary flesh on them — no fatty degeneracy of the 
heart here, my friend, and the population is increasing. The 
way nature works is to push out the surplus and fill the larger 
towns, but that also is a harsh remedy." 



192 



GOLDEN LIVES. 




"It's a sorry business altogether," said Thresher, "and a 
nice chapter for the philosophers who discuss the question as 
to whether life's worth living." 

As Thresher said this they turned a corner, 
and came upon Ebenezer Warp, bent and 
weird, with his apron wound round his waist, 
and his eyes sternly bent before him. He 
peered up at the faces of the strangers as he 
passed them with an earnest appealing look, 
and went off muttering and wailing. They 
passed many others as wretched as he— 
many sullen and brutal 
of aspect, and all alike 
desperate. The social 
problem was abundant 
of examples, but as hopeless of solu- 
tion as the misery was deep. As Thresher 
passed along he came to the conclusion 
that he was a very poor specimen of a 
philanthropist in the face of an evil so 
stupendous, and he readily found excuse 
for retreating from the con- 
templation of so much human 
suffering in the necessity of " catching the train." 

Thresher on the return journey remarked that 
his uncle took tickets for Bangor and not for 
Holyhead. He suggested a possible error. 

" Quite right, my friend ; quite right. I'll make 
another confession. I never tell my captain where 
he will find me when I leave him, because then he 
cannot tell anyone else. I tell him to call at the 
Post Office. You didn't observe that I posted a 
letter immediately I landed at Douglas. That was 
directed to Holyhead, and instructed the Captain 
to be at Bangor this evening, and have a boat at a certain pier 
he knows of at ten to-night. That's my way" 

The old man winked cheerily and seemed very well satisfied 
with himself. Thresher merely smiled and bowed. Perhaps if 
he had known less he would have said more, but his knowledge 
of Mr. Speezer's identity embarrassed him. 





BY SEA AND BY LAND. 193 

The old gentleman increased in cheerfulness during the 
journey, and once when they were alone in the carriage he put 
his hand upon Thresher's knee, and said with a kindly accent 
that showed more feeling than the circumstances should in an 
ordinary case have warranted : 

" Allow me, Mr. Thresher, to say that I'm very glad you have 
accepted my invitation. Your company has much cheered me." 

Thresher was about to say the obligation was on his side, 
hut he was stopped in the, middle of his remark by the old 
man, who exclaimed : 

" Xo, no, my friend, I know what you would say ; but 
believe me, the obligation is with me. I am pleased — 
delighted. I have led a retired life, and the loneliness was 
beginning to pall upon me — in fact, it was becoming serious. 
I have met a good many men in my yachting experiences, but 
they have not given me pleasure. You do. I sincerely hope 
we shall know more of each other. Yes," he added wistfully, 
" more of each other." 

This statement was, as may be supposed, peculiarly 
embarrassing to Thresher, who was again tempted to make 
a declaration on his part, but again he resisted, and said : 

"I am complimented, Sir, by your statement; but I will 
not say more than that I reciprocate your hopes." 

"All right. Let's say no more now; let's say no more. 
I'm glad you like my work at Halesowen, and if you'll assist 
me with your advice and occasional oversight, I shall be much 
obliged." And again he slapped Thresher on the knee with 
a cheery look of confidence. 

There was nothing more of interest said during the journey, 
except when Thresher asked, with some show of anxiety, 
whether Mr. Speezer was sure the letters would be fetched 
from Holyhead. 

" Oh, yes ; certain. You may trust William. William never 
fails, my friend. If our letters are not now in the cabin of 
the Surjyrisc, something very serious has happened. William, 
my friend, may be trusted, never doubt that." 

This eulogium was justified by the event. The Midge was 
at the landing place on their arrival, and the schooner was 
lying out in the seaway with sails slack and ready for a start, 
for it was also part of Mr. Speezer's custom never to remain 

o 



194 GOLDEN LIVES. 

at anchor where he joined the boat. No matter what the 
hour, he always weighed up and sailed to the next convenient 
anchorage — the less frequented the better. On this occasion, 
the wind being light, the Midge showed her usefulness, and 
towed the schooner to a well sheltered nook at the Carmarthen 
end of the straits. 

The letters were there, and one of them was from Eales ; 
but Thresher having achieved the object of his quest was not 
in any undue haste to read it. Eales's letters had ceased to 
be matters of absorbing interest. He changed his jacket and 
shoes, had a wash, and then prepared to read his letter in the 
saloon as he waited for some grilled bones and the company of 
his cheery host. His complacency deserted him as soon as he 
had read a dozen lines ; and before he had finished he was 
in a whirlpool of thought. 

The letter was as follows : — 

" My dear Thresher, — I am under the necessity of reporting 
what cannot fail to be disagreeable. If it does not alarm you, 
it will at least cause you the deepest concern, to hear that you 
are actually accused of murder, and that men are watching 
your house in expectation of your return, with intent, I 
suppose, to apprehend you. You are accused of causing the 
death, by poison, of Mary Joiner, and a Mrs. Shilton, both in 
the service of Miss Winscomb, at Brighton ; and the evidence in 
support of the charge is, according to the police and the press, 
conclusive against you. Inasmuch as the police and the press 
are usually wrong, the situation is less disturbing than it other- 
wise would be ; but it is well I should give you some statement 
of the grounds of the accusation in case you should not have 
seen the papers. In the first place, it is asserted on the basis 
of medical analysis that these two women died of a poison of 
the nature of prussic acid, and that a poison of this character 
was found inserted in an egg in the pantry of the house. 
These points seem well ascertained, but it is remarkable that 
you should be charged with having put those eggs into the 
pantry in the place of others that you are supposed to have 
removed and carried away It is alleged that you burglariously 
entered the house on the night before the death of Mary Joiner 
and exchanged these eggs, not with intent to poison Mary 
Joiner, but to procure the death either of Miss Winscomb or 



BY SEA AND BY LAND. 



195 



Mrs. Cope, both of whom lived in the house. Your motive is 
alleged to be in the case of Miss Winscomb a desire to remove 
her in the hope that your uncle, Mr. Louison, may the more 
surely inherit the accumulations of the Tontine, and in the 
case of Mrs. Cope revenge on account of her having married 
one other than yourself. In support of these assertions it is 
stated that you were seen issuing from the house between two 
and three in the morning of the day on which Mary Joiner 
was poisoned ; and in further confirmation it is pointed out 
that you have since absented yourself from your dwelling, and 
your whereabouts is unknown. 

"This is the substance of what has been published on the 
matter, and the fact that it is published induces me to advise 
you that some notice be taken of it ; and especially that you 
should declare yourself. The necessity for so doing must be 
apparent to you ; but pending your authority I can make no 
statement as to your whereabouts or the cause of your 
absence ; and I therefore await your instructions with some 
anxiety << Yours, very truly, 

" Joseph Eales." 



"P.S.- 
ad dress, 
watching 




The police have been here enquiring for your 
They have plied my clerks, and are no doubt 
our letter boy. I therefore intend to post this 
myself when I am sure of not being 
observed." 

This postcript formed a startling 
commentary on the situation. It 
exhibited the necessity for caution ; 
it showed him the belief was current 
that he was hiding, and the incident 
enraged him. 

He read the letter a second time, 
and was obliged to confess to himself 
that on all points he was much 
disturbed by it. The fact of his 
presence in the house at Brighton 
on the night in question, the cause of 
his being there, the fact that he had 
been observed, and the consequences 

o 2 



196 GOLDEN LIVES. 

that would ensue if the incident were openly canvassed were 
matters for serious alarm. That Eales treated the case lightly 
was natural, seeing he was unacquainted with the one fact that 
made it serious. 

Mr. Speezer entered the saloon rubbing his hands and 
smiling in anticipation of a cheery evening, when he was 
staggered by the excitement depicted on his friend's face. He 
stopped short in an attitude of enquiry. 

" I've had a disagreeable communication," responded 
Thresher. "You, sir, have been so good as to extend 
to me your hospitality, and I feel it to be impossible to 
delay a single moment in showing to you the cause of 
my anxiety" 

With this he handed the old man the open letter, and waited 
with an expression of deep concern on his face. Much to his 
surprise, Mr. Speezer folded it up and stuck it between a 
couple of books behind him, as he said : 

"We'll discuss this after supper, my friend." 

" But," said Thresher, with hesitation, " I'm doubtful 
whether I should take supper in the circumstances." 

"What?" exclaimed the old man, "Not take supper after 
such a day as we have had. I don't wish to dictate, but I 
decline to discuss anything until I have eaten my supper, and 
I invite you, my young friend, to follow my example." 

Cheriton at this moment entered with a dish of boiled 
flounders, preparatory to the grilled bones, and David Thresher 
took his seat. 

" Ah ! that's better," exclaimed Mr. Speezer. " Have you 
had fine weather, William ? " 

" Yes, sir." 

"No accidents? " 

"No, sir." 

" That's good," said the old man, and then he caught sight 
of the settled gloom on Thresher's face, and he began to have 
a decided curiosity to know what was in the letter. He, how- 
ever, kept bravely on with persistent cheerfulness till he came 
to the last item of the supper, and when Cheriton had set 
down a prime dish of soft roes on toast, he looked up to see 
whether the sight of them had any effect upon Thresher. He 
was surprised to remark only the faintest glimmer of interest, 



BY SEA AND BY. LAND. 197 

and then he knew the letter was serious indeed. He shook 
his head, thought a minute, and then said : 

" Now, I think we can venture to look at this letter." 

"I hope you won't repent not having read it before," said 
Thresher. 

On this the old man put the letter down, ate his savory, 
drank a little whiskey and water and then, rising up, held the 
letter in his hand as he said : 

" My dear friend, I'm not going to allow this letter to disturb 
me, no matter what its contents," and he shook the letter as 
if he bore it animosity He then settled himself to read it, 
and when he had finished he said with solemn deliberation : 

"Well, I never in the whole of my experience came upon 
such an extraordinary combination — most extraordinary ! Let 
me read it again ; " and with this he settled himself in an 
arm-chair, and read the letter with a whimsical expression of 
calm amusement overspreading his countenance. 

"Ah," he exclaimed, "they're dropping the anchor. I 
must go on deck, and see where we are." 

And away he went, throwing the letter on the table as if 
it had been of no more consequence than a washing-bill. 

The cool indifference of the old man somewhat revived 
Thresher, who took up* the letter mechanically, as if to read it 
again, but he paraded the saloon instead. 

Presently the old man returned, and in a light and cheerful 
manner said it was a very fine night, and that they had got a 
very good anchorage ; ordered Cheriton to clear the table and 
put on the whiskey, made believe he had forgotten all about 
the letter, and generally behaved in an eccentric manner. 
David Thresher's amazement at his uncle's behaviour was a 
corrective to his nervousness, and he was decidedly cooler 
when the old man said : 

" Now, let's have a talk about this very curious letter." 

Baying this, he sat down, mixed more whiskey and water, 
insisted on Thresher doing the same as he passed the 
decanter, and proceeded with a light and almost frivolous air, 
to say : 

" I know of your friend Eales. He's a very nice fellow, 
isn't he?" 

" Very trustworthy," said Thresher. 



198 GOLDEN LIVES. 

" And you know I know of Cope. He's a scoundrel." 
" Yes," said Thresher. 

" But I know Miss Winscomb also, although I have not seen 
her for nearly fifty years. Fifty years," he repeated with a 
touch of sentiment. He recalled a tall, dashing girl in a riding 
habit and wearing a hat and feathers. Then, after a pause, 
he asked : 

" Who are these two women you are supposed to have 
poisoned, eh ? " 

Thresher looked askance at the old man, and, finding him 
serious, said he had never heard of them. 

" Then what about Mr. Louison ? " asked Mr. Speezer. 
" He's my uncle, but I have never seen him." 
" Then what do you think is the meaning of this matter ? " 
" As I am enjoying your hospitality, sir," said Thresher, 
with dignity, "you are entitled to ask, and I am desirous of 
answering. I can make nothing of it, but I feel it incumbent 
on me to telegraph to the police and say I am coming to 
Scotland Yard as soon as possible." 

" Oh, no, don't do that. You're quite safe here. AVe'll 
manage better than that. Let's consider. You say you have 
never seen your uncle. Is that so ? " 

" I have never had any communication with him in any 
way. He was desirous of seclusion, and, although I am his 
nearest relative, I thought it proper to respect his wishes." 

" Oh," said the old man. " Then I'll tell you something. 
You have seen him, and know him well." 

Thresher turned half round to look at the old man, and put 
on a smile of incredulity. The old man laughed and nodded, 
but Thresher merely said : 

"Perhaps you'll tell me when and where." 
"Here! Now, my boy!" and the old man rose up, and 
took Thresher by the hand, as he exclaimed, " I'm your uncle 
Louison ; but only when I'm at home. I'm Speezer abroad, 
and nobody else. And I tell you what, my boy. You've 
won my heart. We shall be friends, shipmates, comrades; 
and as you are accused in this matter somewhat on account 
of me, I'll stand by you, and get you out of the mess ; but 
you must tell me as much as you can of the whole matter, 
and we must settle the campaign at once." 



BY SEA AND BY LAND. 199 

It was difficult for Thresher to reply to this speech. It was 
impossible for him to disclose his previous knowledge, and he 
shrank from the imposture of pretending surprise. He 
merely grasped his uncle's hand, and said : 

" I'm very glad to hear it. I was amazed the other day to 
hear you had been kidnapped, and although I had never met 
you, I was concerned at the knowledge that nothing could 
be heard of you ! " 

The old man laughed heartily, and said : 

" Then let us take an example from the fact, and not be in 
a hurry to send word to Scotland Yard. The first thing you 
have to do is to see Eales, and I'll manage that for you in 
London without any chance of your being seen, and you shall 
be on the water next day safe from pursuit, if you like." 

" I would prefer to go straight to the police," said Thresher ; 
•' but as matters stand, I'll be guided by you." 

" You'll not repent it ; but in the meantime we must act." 

With this he touched the hand-bell, and Cheriton appeared 
with all his old alertness, but with less of the terrier 
aspect about him now that he was standing behind a beard 
of the wrong colour. Mr. Speezer asked for note-paper, 
and when it was produced he requested Cheriton to write a 
letter as follows : — 

Post Office, Milford. 

Sir, — Please to send me at the above address information 
whether Maida Lodge is still watched, and if so, where the 
men are placed. You may expect another communication 
from me the day after I get your answer. 

Yours obediently, 

To J Eales, Esq. William Cheeiton. 

"Now, William," said the old man, "that letter must be 
posted to-night somewhere." 

Cheriton nodded. 

"And further, William, Mr. Thresher is my nephew. He 
knows me, but it is understood I am still Mr. Speezer so far 
as the world is concerned." 

Cheriton nodded again, but there was a twinkle in his eye, 
as if he were glad to have a companion in the secrets of 
Maida Lodge. 



CHAPTEE XXVI. 

CONVENTIONAL CHIEF AND REAL MALICE. 

Isabel's concern for David Thresher would have been extreme 
but from the fact that she had to face another misfortune more 
definite and not less calculated to excite her sympathy. The 
journey she and her mother took in haste from Brighton, 
fleeing as from a plague, resulted in an attack of cold that laid 
her mother prostrate ; and at the very time the allegation 
against David Thresher assumed shape, Mrs. Foyle died of 
inflammation of the lungs. Isabel's anxiety, tending her 
mother, in her mother's house, and with the intensity of her 
nature wholly absorbed in her work, to the exclusion of all 
other matters under the sun, caused her to disregard popular 
rumour and newspaper reports ; and from varied motives it 
became the object of those about her to conceal rather than 
communicate the circumstances associated with the Brighton 
incident. Her father dared not mention the name of David 
Thresher to her ; and Lady Arabella, who was now a regular 
occupant of Mr. Foyle's house, to keep dear Mrs. Cope 
company in her distress, had reasons of her own, of no very 
distinct character, however, for not exciting a sympathy that 
might become inconveniently pronounced. 

And the poor weak mother died in the arms of her strong, 
defiant daughter, passing almost imperceptibly to the rest she 
had hungered for during many years. And as she passed 
away, just lifting her arms a very little as if she would have 
embraced her one friend, and then closing her eyes for ever, 
Isabel knew that her work of tender watchfulness was over, 
that her place in the family circle was gone, and that if in her 
future life she should know aught of tenderness, it would come 
of hopes as yet undeveloped, and perhaps, impossible. 

She was much impressed, inevitably so, but she did not 
weep ; she did not shed a single tear. The spirit of her past 
life left her with one long drawn sigh, and then a deep-set 
frown fell upon her face, and she braced herself in anger, 
because she felt her mother's life had been wasted for her, and 



CONVENTIONAL GBIEE AND BEAL MALICE. 



201 




all the world — literally strangled by hypocritical neglect and 
brutal selfishness. 

As for Mr. Crawley Foyle, member for Buckton, and 
financier, philanthropist, and champion of oppressed nation- 
alities, he behaved as a model husband. He wept copiously, 
apostrophised the household's friends, whenever he could find 
opportunity, on the virtues of his poor dear Clara, 
claimed the compassion of the world in general 
for his irreparable loss, and said he looked 
forward to a dread and dreary future, de- 
prived of the companionship of the most 
amiable creature that ever breathed the 
breath of life. But careful observers 
remarked that Mr. Crawley Foyle con- 
tinued to be blessed with a good appetite, 
and he took special care never to be left 
alone with his daughter. 

As became an affectionate husband who 
was also a member of Parliament, Mr. 
Crawley Foyle had recourse to plumes and 
velvet horsecloths to indicate to the world at large the measure 
of his grief ; and although he was by no means clear whom 
to put in them, he felt that two mourning coaches, were an 
absolute necessity. He had few relatives and no friends, and 
the question of complying with conventional custom in the 
matter of mourners became to Mr. Crawley Foyle, M.P., a 
matter of difficulty. He and Arthur made two ; it suited 
the purpose of Joshua Cope to be a third, and it suited 
the purpose of Mr. Foyle that Captain Joybell should be 
a fourth, although he had not the remotest connection 
with anyone concerned. Belief in the urgent need of using 
a second coach resulted in an invitation to Milton, the book- 
keeper of Schrieber & Co., couched in language that amounted 
to an order and coupled with a request that he should return 
to the City as soon after the funeral as possible. Crawley 
Foyle's lamentations over the dead were modified by a keen 
appreciation of the necessities of the living , and a profound 
conviction that his own necessities were great indeed. 

Joshua Cope had been somewhat troublesome of late. He 
had been applying mercantile blisters to the house of 



202 GOLDEN LIVES. 

Schrieber & Co., and his partners, father and son, had not 
been happy under the treatment. Mr. Foyle, senior, was 
suffering from an acute attack of impecuniosity, and Mr. Foyle, 
junior, having met with the usual reverse of those who are 
successful in corners, had been having recourse to those 
desperate remedies, which in his case, resulted in sleepless 
nights, and abnormal filial attention. Both father and son 
were, therefore, particularly desirous of company Neither 
wished to be left alone with the other ; and, whatever they 
differed upon, they were unanimous in the desire to avoid a 
business conversation with Cope. This state of things, coupled 
with the fear of being alone with his daughter, had caused 
Mr. Foyle to insist upon Captain Joybell returning with him 
to lunch. Nothing, in the estimation of Mr. Crawley Foyle, 
was so efficient a bar to disagreeable family discussion as the 
presence of a comparative stranger. The surpassing vanity of 
Captain Joybell, however, had, after mature reflection on his 
part, shown him, conclusively, that appreciation of his 
commercial genius alone prompted the invitation, and he 
returned to Eaton Square in a frame of mind approaching 
the hilarious. 

Diversified as were the circumstances, they all contributed 
to repress conversation. Only two persons present had 
complete control of themselves, and Lady Arabella, who was 
one of them, was silent of set purpose. The other, Joshua 
Cope, who saw his wife for the first time since he had left for 
Halesowen, was waiting his opportunity. It came near the 
end of the lunch, and Mr. Crawley Foyle, who had sought 
safety in distance from his partner, was made the passive 
instrument of his malice. 

"I think, Foyle," said Cope, in cold, snappish tones, "we 
may congratulate ourselves in being rid of Thresher now, eh?" 

" Oh, yes, certainly, of course," answered Foyle, with a 
nervous glance at Isabel, who listened unmoved. 

" It'd be a nice thing for Schrieber & Co. to be mixed up with 
a murderer, eh ? " cried Cope ; "a nice thing ! " 

Isabel started. This was news to her, and she could not 
restrain a sharp look of anger and curiosity at her titular 
husband. Her father, noticing her with alarm, exclaimed : 

" My friend, remember Captain Joybell is his relation." 



CONVENTIONAL GRIEF AND REAL MALICE. 203 

" Kelation," sneered dope, "I shouldn't suppose he'll admit 
the relationship when the upstart swings." 

Captain -Joybell felt hound to make himself agreeable to 
the embodiment of capital, and, with ineffable contempt, flung 
a lew epithets across the table for his hearers to apply as they 
pleased : 

"Dirt, scum, outcast! " exclaimed the captain, loftily, but 
no sooner were the words out of his mouth than his complacent 
smile left him, and he quailed before Isabel, who now sufficiently 
comprehended the situation to be aroused. With more heat 
than judgment she asked : 

" Have you now exhausted your malice, you two gentlemen? " 

" My dear ! my dear ! " apostrophised Mr. Crawley Foyle, 
'• think of the occasion." 

"Have these gentlemen thought of the occasion? Have 
you thought of it ? " she asked. 

" My dear ! my dear ! " exclaimed her father in an agony of 
fear, " this is unseemly." 

"Unseemly!" she retorted. "Cannot your hypocrisy give 
place for a single day to repentance ? Are you still the 
fawning slave of this wretched man you call my husband ? " 

Mr. Crawley Foyle became pallid and speechless. He never 
had been equal to the braving of the scorn of his daughter, 
and, without knowing why, he felt a torrent had been let 
loose which threatened to overwhelm him. Cope came to his 
rescue. 

"Do you usually defend criminals with such warmth, Mrs. 
Cope? " he asked, with special emphasis on the name. 

" Silence, sir," she retorted. " You at least know he is 
innocent of participation in that business." 

" The police don't think so," sneered Cope, who was 
beginning to lose his temper. 

" Then you can instruct them," she answered — again with 
more zeal than discretion. 

Cope's suspicion of her knowledge was aroused. He cast 
one quick malignant look at her, and then attacked a banana 
with unusual ferocity. With the last mouthful he had 
arrived at the conclusion that love of Thresher and chagrin 
had originated the remark, not knowledge of facts, and he 
felt more at ease. 



204 GOLDEN LIVES. 

There was really nothing in her retort which might not 
have been prompted by esteem of the man Cope maligned, 
and it was presumable she should expect all her friends 
to believe in the honour and freedom from reproach of one 
whom she regarded with tenderness ; but consoling as this 
conclusion was on the main point it was desperately irritating 
in another respect ; it was hardly to be expected that Joshua 
Cope could regard Isabel's championship of his rival with 
equanamity, and as his fears were dispelled malignity revived. 
Cope was assisted in his reflections by the silence of his 
friends. It lasted only for a moment or two, but the irksome- 
ness of the pause bore heavily on the soul of Mr. Foyle, who, 
by a supreme mental effort, pushed on one side all that had 
gone before, and said, in the mildest and most complacent 
tones : 

" My dear, you'll excuse me, I'm sure, but I really must see 
Mr. Ware this afternoon, though I shan't be long." 

"With this lie rose and walked to the door with the solemnity 
fitting the occasion. What was more natural, although he 
had begged them not to disturb themselves, than that his son 
should resolve "to follow the governor's example" or that 
Captain Joybell's discretion should incite him to a similar 
course. 

The ladies next rose, and it was then that Cope, who had 
remained inactive, executed a strategic movement based upon 
a. sudden accession of artificial politeness. He managed by a 
dexterous pretence of opening the door for his wife to procure 
precedence for Lady Arabella, and then with a pronounced 
accession of rudeness, shut the door, and standing with his 
back to it, hissed at Isabel : 

" What did you mean when you said I could instruct the 
police about Thresher V " 

" Stand aside, sir," was the answer. " How dare you? " 
He remained at bay, glaring at her. It was in the balance 
which of the two would give way, but temper got the better 
of Joshua Cope, to whom the irksomeness of his position 
became more exasperating day by day. 

"You are in league with him," said he fiercely, "in league 
against me." 

" Stand aside," said Isabel, with increased emphasis. 



CONVENTIONAL GRIEF AND REAL MALICE. 



205 



Joshua Cope did not move, but Lady Arabella had remained 
outside waiting in expectation that her interference would be 
needed. At this point she pushed open the door. 

" Call Mr. Foyle," said Isabel, as Lady Arabella appeared. 
" Tell him to come here, immediately. Tell them all to come." 

As Foyle was at that ' time in the act of escaping from the 
house, followed by his two satellites, Lady Arabella's task was 
an easy one, and before Joshua Cope could determine what to 
do next, they were in the room. Prudence suggested that he 
should retreat, but vindictiveness restrained him. He still 
glared at Isabel. 




" Look at him," said she, falling back a step as she pointed 
to that hideous spectacle, a man convulsed with passion — 
foiled, and without resource. " He stands in my way," she 
added. " Eemove him, and let me pass." 

" My dear, you should remember," expostulated Mr. Foyle, 
with delightful vagueness. 

" Eemember what ? " she asked. "The miserable trick you 
played upon me to induce me to marry this wretched man ? 
I shall not easily forget it," she continued, with withering 
contempt. 



206 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



" My dear, my dear," exclaimed Foyle, " this is not a day 
for recrimination. Think of your mother." 

" I do think of her. Thank God I have no longer to protect 
her from your insolent selfishness. I live for the living, not 
for the dead ; and I again command you to put that man aside 
to let me pass." 

" Did you hear her ? " said Cope. " She's going to Thresher, 
she confesses it ; but she daren't." 

" Let me pass, I say," and she waived him aside. "I dare 
do as I please and as honour commands." 

She stopped in the doorway, and turning upon him with 
exceeding bitterness, she declaimed : 

" Your malignity shall not prevent me assisting any friend of 
mine, if it comes within my power. If David Thresher should 
need my help, and I knew where he was, he should have my 
help. I never knew till now, and I say it before all these, how 
deeply I had loved him ; how bitter my hatred is of you ! " 




CHAPTER XXVTI. 



PARASITES AT WORK. 



The private enquiry agent is an abnormal growth of modern 
civilization : the creation of conventional laws, the instrument 
of suspicion, and the parasite of jealousy. The fact that 
Joshua Cope had recourse to this refuge for social failures 
indicates the condition to which he was reduced, but it is 
no exaggeration to say that he regarded the expedient as 
nothing less than a panacea. 

He went to Chudleigh & Co., and found Chudleigh at home. 
He did not find him at home easily. There was a good deal of 
mystery about Chudleigh. There were four bells at his office 
door and four names, but the name "Chudleigh" was at the 
top. Unlike the custom at most offices, a visitor was admitted 
only on ringing ; and upon entering he would find himself in 




the presence of three or four extremely dejected members of 
the human race who seemed very much washed as regards 



208 GOLDEN LIVES. 

their faces and very much unwashed as regards their garments. 
There is nothing so suggestive of penury as a man in faded 
clothes with a bleached face and boots polished with black lead. 
Why Chudleigh had such men sitting in his waiting-room was 
one of the many mysteries of his official life, but the initiated 
knew them to be watchers. They were precisely of the type 
of men who hang about street corners, and, therefore, they 
were able to watch without exciting suspicion of their 
purpose. 

Chudleigh himself was a smart man. Young, active, 
excitable and eager ; apparently always in the act of pouncing 
upon some one, or at least on the look out for someone to 
pounce upon, he impressed his clients with the idea that 
revenge was actually within their grasp the very moment they 
entered his presence. Red hair, a red moustache, a velvet 
waistcoat, and white gaiters were the striking features of his 
personal appearance, with patent leather boots and a blue tie. 
His intimate friends, who liked his dash, admired his 
figure, and tried to imitate the inimitable fit of his coat, 
had misgivings about the waistcoat. That and the blue tie 
indicated a defect in the psychology of Chudleigh. If 
Chudleigh had not been capable of velvet waistcoats and blue 
ties in combination, he could never have been an enquiry 
agent. The two conditions were complementary, and 
in this respect Chudleigh was artistically perfect, but it 
was bad art. 

Joshua Cope, rogue as he was, felt ashamed as he entered 
Chudleigh's office. Filled with black malignity, and spurred 
by impetuous hate, he selected Chudleigh with his habitual 
care, and set out to approach him with the eagerness of relent- 
less spite. But when he saw Chudleigh — when he was face 
to face with a human being who was to become his father 
confessor, he quailed. He did not bate one jot of his purpose : 
his malignity was unallayed, but the nervous movement of 
Chudleigh, the keenness of his eye, the dash of slyness that 
destroyed all hope of genuineness in the man, and the undis- 
guised eagerness with which he welcomed a new comer whose 
misfortune was his gain, reminded Joshua Cope of the method 
of a ferret. He was accordingly nervous about coining to close 
quarters. Instinct told him he might have too much of 



TARASITES AT WORK. 



209 



Chudleigh, but malignity overcame this spasm of caution, and 
said he : 

" You watch people ? " 

" Oh, yes. Whom do you want watched ? " 

" My wife." 

" Yes, certainly. Will you oblige me with a few particulars, 
name and so forth? " 

Cope did this, and then came an awkward pause. 

"I expect this is a serious case, eh?" said Chudleigh in a 
manner that was intended to be sympathetic, but was really 
impertinent. 

" ^ V]i y d ° you expect that ? " asked Cope, with asperity. 




'• It looks like it," said Chudleigh, with a shake of the head. 

" Why does it look like it?" 

" From the facts." 

"What facts?" 

" Mrs. Cope is not unknown," said Chudleigh, with a 
mysterious air. 

Mr. Cope grunted, and Chudleigh was encouraged. 

"Do you want me to proceed blindly?" he asked, "to 
report in the dark only what we see, or do you wish me to 
proceed with knowledge and report with intelligence?" 

" I want your assistance," said Cope, with a touch of 
irritation. 

r 



210 GOLDEN LIVES. 

"Precisely: then give me some of your facts. "Who is 
suspected?" asked Chudleigh, fixing his victim with his eye. 

Cope literally writhed, then pulled himself together with an 
effort, and without a blush, said : 

"No one." 

Chudleigh bowed, said it was singular, and added he would 
probably be able to let Mr. Cope know whom to suspect on 
the morrow. 

Chudleigh made a mental reflection that all his " clients," 
as he called them, were alike. He doubted whether half of 
them could define their suspicions to themselves, and as to 
communicating them to the man who was to assist them, not 
one in a hundred ever thought of doing anything else than 
conceal and confuse him. Chudleigh surmised they thought 
it clever. It was understood, therefore, that Joshua Cope 
suspected no one, and merely wanted his wife watched day and 
night for the humour of the thing. Having got over this 
difficult point, Chudleigh reverted to business and asked when 
the reports were desired. It was ultimately determined to 
have them made out each day up to five in the afternoon, to 
be delivered at the house in Park Lane by a special messenger, 
who was to call himself " Smith," and to hand the report to 
Mr. Cope in person. As the house was to be watched day 
and night, Chudleigh's fee was to be two guineas a day, and 
travelling expenses. 

Joshua Cope was not absolutely certain he had not done a 
foolish thing in putting his domestic affairs into such hands, but 
solacing himself with the reflection that he could call a halt at 
any time, he experienced that sort of relief which comes of 
smashing crockery in a fit of temper : his feelings were relieved 
by action. 

Chudleigh, however, was delighted. He saw a long vista of 
guineas opening up before him, and he became more delighted 
as the day advanced, for in a very short time he had made 
discoveries. 

Chudleigh had a partner named Marks, who carried on 
business in another street as if it were a totally distinct concern. 
The advantages of this were numerous, and every care was 
taken to keep the fact of the partnership to themselves. They 
never visited each other's office on any pretext whatever • 



PAUASITKS AT WOKK. 211 

and if they communicated, the correspondence was carried on 
by means of a mongrel cypher. Their domestic partnership, 
however, was closer. They lived in the same house, and 
though they had two suites of apartments, they invariably 
dined together, and their evening conferences formed the most 
important transactions of the day. 

Marks was a contrast to Chudleigh. He was older and 
larger, and dressed always in black ; he was a sombre man. 
He had a large nose set upon a large puffy face, short black 
hair, a bull neck, and small dark eyes that never opened wide. 
He was formerly a solicitor, but had been struck off the rolls ; 
and it might have been worse for him had it not been for the 
timely disappearance of a witness whose relations with 
Chudleigh have always been surmised but never proved. 
Marks, as if desirous of corroborating the suggestion, served 
Chudleigh with the faithfulness of a dog. To all the world 
beside he was a bitter enemy, and he took a positive delight 
in the pursuit of others and the aggravation of their perplexities. 
He did not succeed in inspiring his clients with the unbounded 
confidence that Chudleigh's manner imposed, but he was more 
persistent and more sure. The industry of the mole and the 
impetuosity of the ferret, formed a good burrowing combina- 
tion and the partnership prospered. 

Marks being slower was more punctual than Chudleigh, and 
was awaiting his arrival in their Chambers on the day Joshua 
Cope had given his instructions. The Chambers consisted 
of an upper floor of a mansion in Bloomsbury Square that 
had seen better days. The furniture was second-hand and 
discordant in form and colour, but the partners had not 
at this time amassed a sufficient fortune to induce a quest for 
luxury, and it was not within their nature to conceive of an 
artistic home. 

Marks was sitting at an office table writing in a large folio 
when Chudleigh entered. It was his custom to keep a 
duplicate of the cases of both establishments at home, with an 
index and references. He spent many hours over this work at 
night collating facts and constructing methods of action. It 
was in this way that the value of the partnership and especially 
the co-operation of the two establishments was exhibited. 

"Much business, old man?" asked Chudleigh. 



212 GOLDEN LIVES. 

" Three new cases," was the reply in dull, monotonous tones. 

Such an accession of business was remarkable ; but prosperity 
did not elate Marks. 

" What are they? " asked Chudleigh. 

" A Mrs. Pilter has been receiving anonymous letters, and 
wants to know who sent them, but she doesn't seem inclined 
to pay for the trouble, and she will not be a lasting case. A 
man named Bowdler wants his partner's movements reported, 
and I hope to make something good of this. A lawyer named 
Eales wants a house in Mayfair watched to see whether any 
one else is watching it ; and generally to report what occurs 
on all points. A good case." 

" All right, old man," said Chudleigh, lighting a cigarette. 
" I've one case. It's only one, but I think it's a good one. 
Strong passion, my boy. Joshua Cope, rich as Croesus, wants 
his wife tracked." 

Chudleigh gave the particulars, and the unimpassioned 
Marks entered them. When he had finished, he said in the 
same dull matter of course tone : 

" I can make your first report for you. The lady went to 
Maida Lodge yesterday afternoon." 

" The devil she did. That's good. How do you make it 
out ? " 

" Well, you see," said Marks, " that's the house my client 
Eales the solicitor wants watched ; we had a man on at 
eleven o'clock." 

"That's all right," said Chudleigh, waving his cigarette in 
the air. 

" Here's our memorandum," said Marks, turning over his 
ledger of social peccadilloes, and then he read : 

" Maida Lodge, the house of Walter Louison, watched by 
Scotland Yard for two reasons. Louison is said to have been 
kidnapped, but Scotland Yard doesn't believe it, and watched 
the house for a week to see him return. Scotland Yard now 
watches it to see whether David Thresher, Louison's nephew, 
and suspected of being implicated in the Brighton poisoning 
case, goes to the house. Motive : Thresher is next-of-kin and 
probable heir of Louison, who would benefit by the death of 
Miss Winscomb, whom it is supposed he wanted to make 
away with." 



PARASITES AT WORK. 213 

"What's that to do with Mrs. Cope?" asked Chucileigh, 
smoking pleasantly on the hearthrug. 

" Nothing," was the answer, " but that's Scotland Yard, not 
me. My note is that a lady in deep mourning called this 
afternoon, spoke to the housekeeper, who opened the door, 
and was tracked home to Park Lane, where Mr. and Mrs. 
Joshua Cope live. House taken furnished." 

" How does that connect up? " 

" It doesn't connect, but there's no doubt it will very soon. 
What does Cope want ? Whom and what does he suspect ? " 

" He says he suspects no one — the usual lie — the customary 
pretence — the common difficulty the British public puts in our 
way when the British public wants us to help them." 

Chudleigh delivered this sentiment with appropriate scorn, 
and waved the smoke around as if to signify his vast power 
and superiority. 

'• We shall know more to-morrow," said Marks. 

" Yes, but we should do something to-night. You see Cope's 
mad with rage, and he's bound to go the whole hog, and it is 
advisable to impress him. Now it's only four hours since I 
had instructions, and if I were to send in a report giving 
facts likely to rouse him up and make him mad, I fancy he 
would be impressed with Chudleigh & Co., eh? Think it 
out, Marks." 

Marks took a long look at his partner, a covert and 
sinister look as if the authoritative tone were displeasing, and 
then said, " Yes," mechanically. After a moment he added: 
" I'll draught a report ; " and he set to work. 

The report was not long, but it was very much to the point, 
and was as follows — 

" Keport by Chudleigh & Co. on case 68,974 :— 

" Our representatives have brought us information to 
the effect that a lady dressed in deep mourning visited the 
house of Mr. Louison, Maida Lodge, Mayfair, yesterday after- 
noon, twenty-four hours before the case was put into our 
hands, and that said lady was followed to the house of Mr. 
Cope in Park Lane. It is assumed the lady was Mrs. Cope. 

" Mr. Louison is the uncle of David Thresher who is 
wanted by the police on a charge of poisoning. Enquiries 
lead to the assumption that the lady in mourning enquired 



214 GOLDEN LIVES. 

at Maida Lodge in the hope of procuring information con- 
cerning the said David Thresher." 

"Ah!" said Chudleigh, as he read it, " that'll fetch him; 
that'll make business. We must send this off at once." 

Chudleigh rang the bell and tossed the report to Marks, who 
put it in an envelope and addressed it, while Chudleigh 
remained standing on the hearthrug smoking and admiring 
his boots. 

The bell was answered by Slammer, who being the husband 
of Mrs. Slammer, the housekeeper, discharged the duties of 
butler, valet, and manager, to Messrs. Chudleigh & Marks, 
and took a special pride in being in their confidence. He 
called them his " gentlemen," and assumed a mysterious air 
whenever they were referred to by others. He was especially 
severe in his manner when any messenger from either of the 
establishments called, and had given much earnest thought 
upon the question as to what would happen if a messenger 
from each office arrived at the same moment. No such 
catastrophe had ever yet occurred, but the possibility of its 
occurrence kept Slammer in a state of chronic excitement after 
five in the evening. 

Slammer was a stout man, all round and plump, and looked 
much shorter than he was by reason of his plumpness. He 
usually wore a loose fitting jacket that made him look stouter 
than he actually was, so what with his roundness and plump- 
ness and his short loose jacket, he seemed to be as broad as 
he was long. When spoken to, Slammer always stood at 
attention, and answered with his head in the air. 

" Slammer," said Mr. Chudleigh, " your name's ' Smith.' " 

" Yes, sir." 

" You're to go at once to this address and ask to see Mr. 
Cope. You're to give the name of ' Smith,' and when you are 
quite sure you have got Mr. Cope alone give him this letter, 
which you'll keep in your pocket till you do get him alone." 

" Yes, sir. What's Mr. Cope like ? " 

" A little hard-headed old man, with an eye like a gimlet and 
a scar on his left forehead." 

" Right, sir," and Slammer went on his errand. 

" What did you say in your report to Eales the lawyer," 
asked Chudleigh. 



r All A KITES AT WOKK. 



215 



" Much the same thing," said Marks, with just a glimmer of 
a twinkle in his half-closed eyes. " I believe he's interested in 
Thresher." 

"I say," exclaimed Chudleigh with much eagerness, " suppose 
that wasn't Mrs. Cope. What then ? " 

" But it was," said Marks quietly. " We put Dolly Mullins 
on and she bought some cast-off clothes from the housekeeper. 
The prices she paid made the housekeeper talk, and she 
managed to bring away a portrait of the lady. There it is," 
added Marks, drawing a large photograph from his pocket very 
slowly as if he set much store by the knowledge it gave. 

" Well, you are a chap," said Chudleigh. " The idea of 
keeping that to yourself. My stars, she is a stunner." 

And he held the portrait at arm's length in an attitude of 
profound admiration. 

"There's a lot in this, Marks," he said, contemplating the 
portrait. " There's no end in it. Let's have our dinner." 



fa 





CHAPTEE XXVIII. 

A STONE WALL MYSTERY. 

The reports of Chudleigh & Co. were followed by varied 
consequences. Joshua Cope rubbed his hands with malicious 
glee and passed a brief eulogy on his own foresight. Eales 
received the information imparted to him with every mark of 
concern, and conceived that when his report reached the 
Surprise, his condition of mind would be reflected with 
indignation and resentment by his client. Isabel having no 
report, and in ignorance that reports were being made, 
preserved an even temper, but withal seemed controlled by a 
purpose. Scotland Yard was in ecstasy : the clue was assuming 
form and substance. 

Marks, in his capacity of Chudleigh & Co., had singular 
material for his next report to Eales. It was the custom of 
the head of his staff, when making a continuous watch, to 
divide the day of twenty-four hours into three sections of eight 
hours each, from ten in the morning to six in the evening, 
from six to two in the morning, and from two to ten. It 
was the duty of the last man to report in person, but an 
incident had occurred during the night so unusual and indeed 
inexplicable, that he and his predecessor both waited on 
Marks together. 

The principal watcher was a tall, thin man, named Larney, 
close cropped as regards hair, with a long fringe of whisker 
and beard, a broken nose, and thin, straight lips. He had 
been a game-keeper, having risen from the rank of poacher to 
the superior function, and he gave one the impression that he 
would be very sorry if a condition of universal brotherhood 
and well-doing came to pass. His companion, named Pike, 
was a short, stout man, with a hook nose, and a super- 
abundant growth of black hair in every place where hair can 
grow on a man's face and head, so that having a very low 
forehead, his black eyes and large nose became unusually 
prominent. He was untidily dressed in clothes too large for 
him, and smoked incessantly. 



A STOKE WALL MYSTERY. 



217 



" What's this ? " enquired Marks, full of suspicion. " Why 
is Pike here?" 

" For a good reason," said Larney, and his lips compressed 
so that there were no lips visible at all. "A most estrorniery 
thing took place this mornin' when I was relievin' Pike, and 
we come together that you might know the rights of it." 

Marks being constitutionally indisposed to believe in the 
moral rectitude of anybody, and having a preference to the 
belief that all men were liars, concluded that in all probability 
the two men had been neglecting their duty, and had come to 
give a circumstantial account of some imaginary incident. He 
contemplated their appearance for a moment, as he sat in his 
chair, with his elbows on the table, and then said : 

" Go on, Larney " 

Larney proceeded, hat in hand, with his story in the firm 
decisive manner usual with him, while Pike looked on, as if 




vastly pleased with the accuracy ot a statement he would have 
found it impossible to make himself. Said Larney : 

" I found Pike, Mr. Marks, if you please, at the corner where 
we wait for relief, and mostly stands, which it commands two 



218 GOLDEN LIVES. 

sides of the house — the front and the left side wall of the 
garden, and it was ezakly two minutes to two." 

This was designed to impress Mr. Marks with Larney's 
punctuality, and was stated with much emphasis, but Marks 
merely blinked over his hands, which covered the lower part of 
his face as he listened with his elbows on the writing-table. 

" We was exchanging a word or two," continued Larney, 
" when Pike, who was standing in full view of the street as 
runs up the left side of the house, says to me, he says ' Larney,' 
he says, ' there's two Aggers come up from the end of the 
street.' I turns, and says, ' Eight you are,' and altho' we didn't 
suspect nothin', we put ourselves in the shadder of a porterco 
as they come along, and turns to watch 'em, when Pike, he says, 
' Larney,' he says, ' they've wanished ; ' and sure as I'm 
standin' 'ere this minit they was nowheres to be seen, and all 
in the little bit o' time it took for me and Pike to shunt back 
into the shadder of the porterco ; and we looks at each other 
blank and says, ' where the Devil have they gone to ? ' and 
that's what we don't know now." 

" They went back, I suppose," suggested Marks. 

Larney shook his head, and Pike said " Couldn't. There 
worn't time." Pike spoke in a whisper, a habit that had its 
origin in an excess of gin, combined with the sentiment of 
secrecy associated with his vocation. 

" Is there a side gate ? " asked Marks. 

"No, there ain't no side gate," said Larney; "nor yet a 
hen try of any sort or kind up to the end of the street on either 
side. There's a long 'igh stone wall, ten foot 'igh, round the 
house, without a break exceptin' in the lane at the back, 
where the stables is ; and on t'other side o' the street there's a 
seven foot brick wall, and some side doors, but the parties 
couldn't have crossed the road, without bein' observed by us ; 
and I tell you, Mr. Marks, they wanished." 

Again Larney's lips disappeared by reason of the decision 
he imparted into this deliverance. 

"But what has this affair to do with our case?" asked 
Marks, with an air of petulance. 

"Ah," said Larney, with a shake of the head. "That's a 
question we can't answer. If the parties had come along and 
had gone by us we should have thought nothin' of it ; but yer 



A STONE WALL MYSTKKY. '219 

see they conic half way up the street and then they wanish- -- 
clean wanish," repeated Larney, waving his arm. 

"You both saw this?" asked Marks. "Or rather you 
both didn't see it," he added, with a sneer. 

" Xow, Mr. Marks," responded Larney, in a reproachful 
tone, " it was dark; there's only one lamp at the end of the, 
street ; and not only wasn't we expecting nothin', but it all 
happened just the very minit we was stepping aside, so as to 
put ourselves in persition to see em to rights. Why our 
eyes wasn't off 'em three seconds." 

" And you were both quite sober? " 

'' I can answer for myself," said Larney, with dignity ; "and 
I can answer for Pike." 

There was a pause, during which Marks made a brief 
memorandum, and then studied it in silence. Then he said : 

" Now what were those men like ? " 

'' Tallish," said Larney; " one was stouter than the other, 
low-crowned hats, and they walked smart." 

" How were they dressed ? " 

" Too far off to see proper, but the stout one had on a long 
overcoat, and the other seemed to wear a jacket." 

Marks made a note, and then asked : 

" Did the Scotland Yard men know anything of this? " 

"Scotland Yard men!" exclaimed Larney, with ineffable 
disgust. " They keeps their blessed eyes on the street-door 
knocker and sets like scarecrows, which they are, and nothin' 
more nor less." 

Later in the morning, a report was brought to Marks that 
Cheriton had driven up to the house in a cab alone. He 
carried a small bag with him, having no railway labels on it. The 
cabman stated he had been hailed by Cheriton outside the 
Horns Tavern, at Kennington, and knew nothing more of his 
fare. 

Marks ruminated on these statements, and took action. 
Although he was distinctly inclined to regard the incident as 
a myth, he felt it was too striking and dramatic not to be used 
if possible, and it occurred to him that, if he could make it look a 
little less apochryphal it would enable him to turn out a remark- 
ably good report. He accordingly resolved to visit the spot 
himself, and see whether broad daylight and what he thought 



220 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



to be less imaginative observation would explain the mystery 
Marks was not the person to believe off-hand in the sudden 
evaporation of two ordinary men, or the passage of flesh and 
blood through stone walls. 




The inspection was made, and Chudleigh received a summons 
to be in consultation at four o'clock. 

Chudleigh found Marks writing when he responded to the 
summons, and Marks continued writing for fully five minutes 
after his partner entered, without so much as turning his head. 
The incident was ominous and aroused the suspicions of 
Chudleigh, without exciting his apprehension. Chudleigh 
took up his place on the hearthrug and smoked cigarettes. 

Chudleigh's suspicions were in the main right. A desire for 
freedom had for some time been awakening in the bosom of 
Marks & Co. — freedom from the insolent assumption of 
Chudleigh & Co. as displayed in the cigarettes, the velvet 
waistcoat, and the blue tie. The conviction that Marks & Co. 
was the cause of the great successes of Chudleigh & Co. was 
continually thrusting itself upon Marks and provoking a feeling 
of sullen resentment. Chudleigh, it was true, brought business, 
but he never worked it out, and the time had come for 
asserting the relative values of the partners. 



A STONE WALL MYSTERY. '221 

Theoretical resolution, however, is seldom reduced to prac- 
tical realization in such cases, and the superb self-sufficiency 
of Chudleigh on this occasion, as on all others, reduced the 
presumption of Marks to helplessness. He had continued 
writing because his resolution began to ebb immediately 
Chudleigh entered the room ; he ceased to write only 
when all his resolution had gone out, as it were, at the 
tip of his pen, and then he turned with the sullen air of 
a beaten slave to throw a golden opportunity at his partner's 
feet. 

" Well, my friend ? " enquired Chudleigh. 
Marks coughed, and with a nervous twitching of his face, 
brought himself back to his normal state of mind. Then, 
without a word of preface, he said : 

" How many people, Chudleigh, should you think were in a 
house, where they take in about half a sheep and 28 lbs. of 
beef, besides kidneys, suet, and such things ? " 
" Where have they been doing that, old man ? " 
Marks made a gesture of impatience. He had not the 
courage to raise the question of partnership, but he resented 
what he regarded as stupidity. 

" Xever mind where," said he. " Answer the question. 
It's important." 
Chudleigh obeyed. 

"It depends upon the pantry. Five-and-twenty people 
could not use it up, unless there was an ice-house in the 
establishment." 

" It's more than six servants would want, eh ? " said Marks, 
ruminating. "Much more, very much more. It would give 
a dozen people an allowance of a pound a day for over a 
week. That's clear." 

" That's quite clear," said Chudleigh, lighting another 
cigarette. " Xow make the application." He liked to 
humour his partner, and never departed from the patronising 
air, appropriate to the head of the combination. "Half a 
sheep, and twenty-eight pounds of beef. What does that 
prove?" 

" And kidneys," said Marks. 

"All right, kidneys and suet, too; let's see the application. 
What's the case? " 



222 GOLDEN LIVES. 

" Maida Lodge," said Marks. "All that went into the 
stable entrance to Maida Lodge about one o'clock to-day." 

"You don't say so ! " 

" I do, because I saw it, and more. Smoke was coming out 
of a chimney on the east side of the house. That means 
that somebody has come home, and come to stay." 

" Looks like it, but who has come home? " 

" Don't know." 

"Have your men missed them?" asked Chudleigh, with 
just a suspicion of asperity. 

" No," answered Marks, resuming a surly air. " They have 
not missed them. The only man who has entered the front 
door is the butler, Cheriton. He has come home, but no one 
else has been seen to enter the house ; yet I'm convinced 
there's more than one returned." 

Then he related the story he had heard that morning from 
Larney, and suggested the probability of the two men having 
returned and got into the house by the stable entrance in the 
lane. 

" Larney says ' No ' " continued Marks. " He says it was 
impossible, but I can see no other way, and I am not particular 
as to the road. That Mr. Louison and his nephew are both 
there I have not a doubt. How they got there is a secondary 
matter." 

" You're usually right, Marks, and I suppose you're right 
now Let's assume you are. Is Scotland Yard still on the 
job?" 

" Yes, but they know nothing of this. All this occurred in the 
side street and the stable lane. Larney says the two men he 
saw coming disappeared through the stone wall. He says they 
had not time to walk back to the lane, but I have examined 
every inch of the wall and there is no doorway or entrance of 
any sort. It's a plain solid stone wall of ten feet high built of 
dressed stone and with a heavy coping on the top of it. There 
are no marks of scaling on the stone work ; and I calculate it 
would have taken longer to scale it than to go round by the 
stables." 

" Very well," said Chudleigh, " we'll agree to all that, and 
now, what is to be made of it ? " 

"Ah," said Marks, ruminating; " what is it we want ? We 



A STONE WALL MYSTERY. '2'2/{ 

want Mrs. Cope to go there, don't we? That'll keep the pot 
boiling, eh? " 

"But we've no connection with her," said Chudleigh. 

" Oh, yes, we have. She has been to see my client, Eales," 
said Marks, with a look of cunning not unmixed with 
contempt. 

" You don't say so ! " 

" Went last evening at six o'clock. You didn't see the 
report because you were fooling away your time at the 
Theatre or somewhere ; but she did go and she'll go again. At 
any rate this report will fetch her, and then you shall have a 
report for Cope. Better not report last night's visit to Bales 
yet : say she went out shopping." 

Marks held a report in his hand for Eales ; it was very brief 
and merely stated that two persons supposed to be Mr. Louison 
and his nephew were believed to have returned and gained 
access to Maida Lodge ; that Cheriton, the butler, had also 
returned and went in and out of the house at will, and the 
house was still being watched by detectives from Scotland 
Yard. 

These few facts were set out with much circumstance with 
many sage reflections as to what Marks & Co. surmised, and 
concluding with a declaration that Marks & Co.'s agents were 
still on the watch. 

Chudleigh was pleased to approve of the report and did so 
with a gracious flourish of his cigarette in the air, and a " Very 
good, Marks ; very good," which observation and manner were 
unfortunate, for they maddened Marks and caused him to 
enquire with surly contempt : 

" How good ? What reason can you give for its being good ? 
You know nothing of the matter, and cannot reason on the 
facts." 

" Indeed," said Chudleigh, still with a lofty air, " Why do 
you think that?" 

" Because," exclaimed Marks, "you have utterly failed to 
grasp the meaning of the kidneys." He said this looking on 
the ground, and walking about the room in an irritable manner. 
Then suddenly, with a curious accession of nervous energy, he 
exclaimed: "Entrees. Devilled kidneys, on toast ! " Then he 
stopped short and moved about with exhibitions of the same 



224 GOLDEN LIVES. 

nervous irritation, and again suddenly he exclaimed: 
" Sybarites, not servitors. Without the kidneys, my reasoning 
is inconclusive," saying which, he left the room, convulsed 
with suppressed passion, and Chudleigh continued his 
cigarette chuckling over the humour of the situation. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

THKESHEB EESOLVES TO PAY A VISIT. 

There are times in the lives of all of us when even in the most 
innocent circumstances we are subject to all the irksomeness 
engendered by guilt ; and it is almost certain that the unjustly 
accused suffer more from the fear that suspicion concerning 
them may rest in the minds of their friends than an actual 
criminal will experience throughout the whole of his trial and 
punishment. 

David Thresher, possessed of an unusually sensitive nature, 
shrank with horror when contemplating the possibility of such 
suspicion, and the seclusion his uncle advised him to have 
recourse to rather increased than allayed the misery of his 
position. The tender solicitude of the old man and his 
anxiety to utilise the admirable resources of Maida Lodge for 
this purpose of concealment, brought home to him with 
irresistible force the fact that he was hiding. The idea was 
maddening, and throughout the whole of the day succeeding 
his mysterious entrance into the house, he racked his brains 
to discover by what means he could cease to be a fugitive and 
at the same time avoid offending his host. Obviously 
innocence was incompatible with hiding, and he had no 
recourse but to endeavour to make clear to his uncle the 
evil consequences of concealment. 

They had finished lunch, which had been served by Cheriton 
in the dining-room, with unusual celerity, and with the door 
locked — two conditions that were prompted by motives 
Cheriton would not have dared to confess even to himself. 
Cheriton' s nervous excitement was not allayed until he had his 
master and guest on the other side of King Charles's portrait, 
for he was at this time wholly unaware of the fact that Scotland 
Yard had penetrated the mysteries of the inner chamber and 
knew all about the Vandyke. Cheriton was, of course, a 
strong advocate for the policy of resistance to authority. 

The duel began in the library. Thresher selected a book 
deliberately, and sauntering to an easy chair, opened the book 



226 GOLDEN LIVES. 

on his knee, when he appeared to become languid and 
abstracted. He had carefully thought out his plan of attack, 
and the book was an essential property in the comedy he 
proposed to play. 

His uncle, on the other hand, watched every movement 
with the keenest interest ; and the fact of his settling down in 
an easy chair after lunch with a book gave him special satis- 
faction. It indicated a comparatively contented mind. He was, 
however, soon undeceived. With a deep-drawn sigh, and in 
tones little above a whisper, Thresher asked, as if of himself : 

"How is this to end?" 

The old man looked up with a start, and fixing his eyes 
upon his nephew, said : 

" How should it end, but in your safety and freedom ? " 

There was something of impatience in his remark, as if he re- 
sented the suggestion that his method was tainted with error. 

"I regret," said Thresher in appealing tones — "I very 
much regret to say I cannot feel safety in hiding and con- 
cealment." 

" This is not hiding ! " said the old man. " You cannot 
be said to be hiding when you are staying in your uncle's 
house." 

"I have knowledge," was the reply, in firm and solemn 
tones, " that a grave charge has been made against me, and I 
see by the newspapers that I am being sought for by the 
police. It is not compatible with innocence to refrain from 
declaring myself. The initial step in proof of my innocence is 
to go at once to the police. You say I am not hiding : shall I 
walkout?" 

He rose up as he said this, as if he would put the proposal 
into immediate execution. He was met with a look of horror, 
and the exclamation : 

" Good G-od, my boy, you mustn't do that ! The house 
is watched day and night." 

" Then we must admit that I am hiding," said Thresher, 
with his lip quivering, and his face blanched. " I am being 
actually pursued by the police, and I am hiding. An innocent 
man doesn't hide. It is the guilty who hide. I am afraid," he 
added, in a hollow voice, " that you have in the bottom of 
your heart some fear that I am guilty and you would save me." 



THRESHER RESOLVES TO TAY A VISIT. 2'20 

•' No, my boy, no — nothing of the kind. We'll go back to 
the boat to-night. You will bo safe there." 

Thresher shook his head with a melancholy smile, rose and 
paced the room. 

" Yes," said the old man. "Nothing could be easier. We'll 
go as we came. No one will see us." 

Again Thresher shook his head. Then he said firmly and 
impressively, standing before his uncle : 

" You are asking me to act dishonourably. You are asking 
me to put on an appearance of guilt and proclaim myself a 
fugitive from justice. To do so would be literally suicide. 
They would hang me and I should deserve to be hanged for 
being a coward and a traitor to myself." 

" Xo, no," said the old man. " We must get out of the way. 
Xo one knows we are here except Cheriton ; and no one need 
know that we have ever been here." 

An idea occurred to Thresher. He had no knowledge 
at this time how he had come into the room in which 
he stood. They had entered during the darkness, and when 
a light was struck he had no means of identifying even 
the side of the room at which he had entered. He had 
presumed later that he must have come in by the Vandyke 
portrait, but as he had no knowledge of the house beyond 
the dining-room he could only conjecture, and felt it would 
be as well if he informed himself definitely. Accordingly 
he asked, 

" How can we leave the house unobserved ? " 

" See, see," said the old man eagerly, thinking he had gained 
a point, if not secured a victory. As he spoke he removed a 
book from the case behind his chair, put his hand in the vacant 
place and drew out the entire set of shelves on a hinge, 
disclosing a narrow stone staircase. 

" There," said he, " that's how you came in and that's how 
you can get out without anyone being the wiser." 

" Does this lead into the street ? " enquired Thresher. 

" Come, I will show you." 

They descended to a small chamber dimly lighted and all of 
solid stone like a prison cell, except that on one side there was 
a large iron door of unusual width, provided with a powerful 
and delicately constructed bolt. 



230 GOLDEN LIVES. 

" Did you see me," asked the old man, " on the night we 
arrived put my hand to the coping stone ? I think not, but 
you saw me raise my hand. I did so to lift the coping stone, 
and in doing so I depressed this rod. See, I can do it here. 
Now the door is free ; and the least pressure upon the wall 
outside will cause the heavy stones to open inwards. See." 

The old man pulled a handle and the great iron door moved 
an inch or two, and then was immediately closed to prevent 
observation from without. He then commenced explaining, 
with great minuteness and childish delight, that five of the 
massive stones of the wall were carried in an iron framework, 
and that when closed the interstices were concealed by the 
accuracy of the masonry, and the fact that the bevil of the 
movable stones was in each instance continued behind its 
neighbour. 

" The key is very simple," said the old man impressively. 
"Press the twelfth coping stone from the stable lane half-an- 
inch upwards. That done, the slightest pressure on the stones 
below will cause them to yield, and you can enter." 

" And you think we should use this to-night ? " asked 
Thresher. 

" Yes, to-night. There's no moon to-night." 

"Let us return," said Thresher. "I have something to 
say." 

Thresher led the way back to the library with deliberation, 
and when they had closed the door, he took his uncle by the 
hand and said : 

" I would like to use that exit to-night, sir," and then, with 
a little tremor of his lip he added, " but I beg of you do not ask 
me to return to the boat until I have paid a visit." 

" To whom? " asked the old man excitedly. 

" To Scotland Yard. I must no longer run the risk of being 
taken like a criminal." 

The old man was much shocked, and for the moment did not 
respond. There was something in the manner of Thresher 
which forebade resistance, but although he did not openly 
resist, he hoped something would happen to prevent the 
catastrophe. As the day wore on this hope faded, and 
although little had been said, a sentiment of unison grew up 
between the uncle and nephew in the direction arrived at by 



THRESHER RESOLVES TO PAY A VISIT. 231 

Thresher. So it came to pass an hour or two after dinner — 
little having been said up to that time — that the old man 
continued the conversation of the afternoon. 

"I have been thinking," said he, " of what you said about 
the door downstairs, and I am unable to avoid the conclusion 
that you are right ; but strange and terrible things have 
happened in the matter of false verdicts. I am an old man 
now, and your companionship the last few days has been a 
new life to me. Perhaps I have been wrong in continuing by 
myself for so long, but let that pass. You are going out from 
here to face the world and to demand trial on a groundless 
charge. You do this with a full knowledge that in defiance of 
the theory of the law almost everyone believes you guilty 
merely because you are charged. I commend your courage 
and approve your sense of honour, but the contemplation of 
the possibilities fills me with terrible forebodings." 

He paused, labouring under much excitement. Presently 
he would have resumed, but Thresher interposed : 

" You are very good," said he, " to let me have my way, and 
you must not think me selfish in exacting it. The necessities 
of the case are paramount, and I am sure you will never regret 
the step I am about to take, whatever the consequences. There 
are some things men are called upon to do, condemned by 
reason, and repugnant to natural impulse, but which, undone, 
would make their lives a curse to them. I cannot live in hiding 
or in flight ; and the knowledge that you have confidence in 
me and would retain me near you, only because of your 
love for me, renews my hope of returning to enjoy the 
pleasure of your companionship." 

He spoke cheerfully, but the old man shook his head as he 
replied : 

"I do not expect you will return here to-night, but if you 
should do so, come to the front door. As for myself I must 
take a new departure. I shall send at once for Eales, and 
advise with him. We must be active. We must not rest. I 
put no trust in a British jury for the discernment of the truth — 
without assistance." 

Thresher was silent for a moment, and then said in a 
quiet, restrained manner : 

"You maybe right, sir, indeed you are right; but for all 



232 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



that the risk must be run. I could not live without facing 
the situation." 

They then became silent, and remained so. The hour or so 
that followed was a gloomy time for both of them, and both 
avoided the subject which most occupied and depressed them. 
They spent the time in reading or endeavouring to read ; and 
soon after midnight, Thresher approached his uncle with his 
watch in his hand. The old man, silently responsive, opened 
up the staircase and conducted his nephew to the outer wall. 
Adjusting the mechanism, he caused the stone door to fall in 
a couple of inches, and then, taking Thresher by the hand, he 
wished him " God speed." 

Thresher responded with a silent pressure of the hand. In 
another moment he was outside on the pavement, and the 
wall closed behind him, 




CHAPTER XXX. 



AN HONOURABLE SURRENDER. 







David Thresher did not return to 
Maida Lodge, and the country was 
electrified by a brief announcement 
in the morning papers that he had 
given himself up. Before the day 
was out, he was as good as convicted 
and hanged, by the general consensus 
of opinion, for the multitude is always 
prone to believe the evil spoken of 
the individual ; and although a few 
regarded the visit of David Thresher 
to Scotland Yard as evidence of 
> innocence, the common belief was 

that he was compelled to the act by contrition. 

When Thresher emerged from the wall of Maida Lodge he 
hastened to Piccadilly, and took the first cab he could find. 
He experienced a feeling of relief and satisfaction as he found 
himself safely on the road to Scotland Yard, uncontaminated 
by the bonds of the thief-taker. It was a matter of ambition 
with him, and something more than common prudence, to go 
voluntarily in response to a demand for his presence by the 
State. He paid the cabman double fare, at the door of the 
police-office, and entered with a light and cheerful manner ; 
out cool and self-possessed as was his aspect, his heart 
beat a wild and bounding measure as he asked for the 
Inspector on duty. The interview between Thresher and 
the Inspector was constrained. Said the Inspector, in official 
tones, and with a bearing magnificent for rigid formality and 
exactness : 

" What can I do for you, sir ? " 

" My name is David Thresher," was the answer, with just a 
shade of nervousness in the tone. " I have arrived in Loudon 
from a yachting cruise, and I have called to ascertain whether 
it is true that you are in search of me." 



234 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



This answer was sufficiently startling to awaken the official 
mind to the knowledge that the surrender was the act of a 
man of honour who was controlled by mature reflection, and 
not by sudden impulse, but with that inability, common 
among the slaves of routine, to construe a novel situation, the 
Inspector's first idea was to prevent the man 
who called himself David Thresher repenting 
of his surrender. 

"Maguire," said the Inspector, calling to a 
constable at the door, " this is David Thresher. 
Be in attendance." 

The officer responded, and the Inspector, 
without any outward sign of emotion, resumed 
the conversation by informing Thresher that 
he must consider himself in custody, and that 
whatever he said would be taken down and 
used against him. Thresher, somewhat nettled 
at the brusque officialism, responded, with 
asperity : 

" That warning is superfluous and irregular. 

This is not a police-court, and you are not a 

__ magistrate. I shall say what I wish to ; and 

as I have come here of my own accord, you 

will have no need to fear I shall attempt to run away, if you 

wish me to stay." 

This rebuke was an imprudence, but the occasion was not 
productive of calm reflection and cool action. David Thresher 
had resolved to face the world, and was reckless about 
trifles. 

The Inspector reflected, made some memoranda in a book 
lying open on his desk ; and, without saying another 
word, left his post, nodding significantly as he did so to 
the officer he had practically charged with the custody of 
Thresher. 

In less than twenty minutes, thereafter, David Thresher 
was left to his reflections in a cell at the Bow Street Police 
Office, charged with the murder of two women whom he had 
never seen, and whose names he had never heard before they 
were read out to him by the officer who received him. 

Up to this time he had been sustained by a commanding 




25f«*». 



AN HONOURABLE SURRENDER. 235 

sense of social obligation. No room for doubt existed in his 
mind of the propriety of his action ; he was conscious only of 
an all-powerful impulse to respond to a public challenge, 
reflecting upon his honour ; and he was buoyed up by a 
profound conviction that he would succeed in unmasking the 
popular error. But now, in the loneliness of a prison cell, 
unsustained by the presence of even opposing friends, and 
bereft of the exhilarating influence of a consciousness of 
freedom, the heroic sentiments died. The hard, cold, uncom- 
promising evidence of restraint, subjection, and shame 
surrounded him, and his blood chilled. The crisis over, his 
energy abated ; hunger, too, asserted itself, and he became a 
prey to despondency. 

Sleep was impossible, and as the night wore on, he 
tried to reason back his confidence. His limited knowledge 
of the circumstances in which he was placed caused 
him, with justice, to regard the action of the police as the 
height of absurdity. He knew of only one ground for sus- 
picion regarding him, and that was his presence in Brighton 
on the fatal night. This he was prepared to admit. His 
presence in the house where the women had died was the one 
incident of his whole life he was resolved to conceal. Could 
this be known ? He believed not, but the doubt revived with 
persistent iteration, and, acquiring force as the night wore 
on, it ultimately exerted an influence that was simply 
appalling. 

Then followed another and more terrible thought : the taint 
of the jail was now upon him, never to be removed, because the 
fact of actual imprisonment could never be obliterated. The 
reassuring reflection that a man is always innocent until proved 
to be guilty, gave him no consolation. The fact that he had 
been spared the indignity of manacles was an incident that, 
however consolatory, was incapable of mitigating the com- 
promising fact of confinement in a police cell. 

The whole range of his future life — its hopes and ambitions, 
were now dulled, dwarfed, and disfigured — shrouded in an 
impenetrable mist, and robbed of every particle of interest. 

Even Isabel he regarded only as a spectator of his degrada- 
tion ; but in her case he had the knowedge that she, at least, 
was without suspicion of his guilt, and this was the one 



236 GOLDEN LIVES. 

solitary gleam of sunshine that was left him, when the morning 
broke, and from sheer exhaustion he fell asleep. He dreamed of 
her, and curiously, his dream was almost prophetic. So accurate 
was his construction of the line her thoughts would move in, 
that his unguided wanderings imagined her in conference with 
Eales, and so it chanced within an hour of his dreaming. 

There was no sort of doubt in the mind of Isabel as to the 
part she had to play in this drama, the first scene of which 
was about to open before the delighted public. Her course 
was clear before her, and her courage high. 

It was three o'clock in the morning, when Eales heard of 
the action of his friend and client. It was past four when he 
applied at Bow Street, and was told he could not see his man 
till nine. It was five when his messenger rang up Mrs. Cope's 
household, in Park Lane, and at six he was in Isabel's boudoir, 
without the presence of Lady Arabella. Joshua Cope was 
down with his nailers, engaged as will hereafter appear ; and 
Mr. Louison had not yet given up all hope of his nephew's 
return, so he had not taken the tremendous step of summoning 
Eales to Maida Lodge for the unprecedented incident of a 
personal interview. 

Isabel did not disguise from herself the seriousness of the 
crisis, nor did she seek to limit the range of the programme 
proposed by Eales. She listened with marked anxiety to the 
array of facts he unfolded, and weighed them with the pre- 
cision of a lawyer. Some of them were new, and of startling 
significance. Thresher's presence in Brighton, at the time of 
the occurrence, she admitted, as within her own knowledge, 
and also that of Lady Arabella. She said they had spoken 
to him ; but when Eales declared that the police asserted that 
he was actually seen issuing from the front door of the house, 
at half-past two in the morning, she suppressed an exclamation 
of horror, and said with comparative calm : 

" Impossible." 

" Can we prove it to be impossible ? " 

" I always understood you lawyers declined the attempt to 
prove a negative," she answered, with that suggestion of 
irritation that strong natures so frequently exhibit when 
unexpected facts stand in the way of their wilfulness. " They 
cannot prove his leaving the house ; it's absurd." 



AN HONOURABLE SURRENDER, liil? 

" They say they can prove by the night porter his late return 
home to his hotel, after the time he was seen by the policeman 
on the beat, to leave the house." 

Isabel winced ; it needed all her courage to listen without 
betraying her thoughts. She rose and paced the room, with 
flashing eyes and her hands clenched. It was not despair but 
anger — anger at an adverse fate. 
" What more ? " she asked. 

" In response to a search warrant," said Eales, " his rooms 
have been ransacked, and a key has been found that fits the lock 
of the front door from which the policeman saw him come." 
" Never." 

" They assert it, and that is a statement that can be proved 
or disproved without question. But there is more. They 
declare they have found in his rooms some white plaster 
identical in character with that in which the poison was 
encased in the eggs." 

" Impossible," exclaimed Isabel. " Why, Mr. Eales, are you 
not his friend ?" she asked, indignantly. "Why do you say 
these things? " 

"I am his friend," said Eales, impressively, "and I repeat 
these things because they have to be met." 
" But they are lies — horrible lies," she exclaimed. 
" They may be, but also they may be facts." 
" How dare you say that ? " 

"Facts, capable of explanation, perhaps common-place 
explanation." 

" Of course they are ! What is the explanation? " 
"That we have to discover. I am now going to see our 
friend, and he may help us." 

Eales continued by suggesting numerous possible explana- 
tions of each damning fact. Keys, he said, were often found 
to open locks they were never intended for ; white cement was 
common in households all over the land for mending china and 
nicknacks, so was spirits of wine, in which it was assumed this 
particular cement was softened ; and as for the supposed 
midnight visitor, mistaken identity was the most reasonable 
explanation of an incident that perhaps had no more solid 
foundation than the imagination of the policeman who had 
described it. 



238 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



This was comforting to Isabel, for the propositions were 
delivered with a jaunty air of assumed self-confidence, calcu- 
lated to allay anxiety; but the hope they awakened was of 
brief duration, for, overtopping, permeating, and withering 
this embrasure was the solid fact of Thresher's presence in the 
house on the night in question — a fact that none could demon- 
strate more conclusively than she, and not only did this fact 
reduce to impotence every presumption that could be suggested, 
but threatened to overwhelm her, also, in the impending 
catastrophe. 

Before the interview ended, she charged Eales with a 
message for the man she loved : 

" Tell him," she said, " I shall rest neither day nor night 
until his freedom from this charge is assured." 

And in due time, back came the answer: 

" Say I am grateful for so ungrudging a promise, but that 
I beg of her on no account to identify herself with me or my 
defence, as her reputation is to me more sacred than my life, 
and she must remember that she is married to another." 




CHAPTEK XXXI. 

AN AWAKENING. 

Moralists have held that one of the dangers of a high state 
of civilisation is the probable decadence of the people through 
the enervating influences of luxury ; but a greater evil is now 
being realised in the creation of a universal mediocrity, the 
persistent repetition of uninteresting patterns of human 
beings, and the gradual elimination of all chance of recurring 
examples of original capacity. To such an extent is this 
condition of things growing that one accepts the extravagance 
of the artistic or literary mountebank, and the phantas- 
magoria of any brand-new philosophy with complacency if not 
with satisfaction. So, therefore, however much the energy 
and ingenuity displayed by Mr. Louison was misapplied, his 
eccentricities were at least agreeable, from the fact that 
they were a contrast to the humdrum repetition of life 
upon life in Mayfair. Having regard to his ultimate pur- 
poses, his course was commendable ; and he now showed that, 
in the presence of an emergency, he could remove the mask, 
and cease from the pastime of playing hide-and-seek with the 
world. He also proved himself a man of resource, because, 
when he received his solicitor in his library with the Charles 
the First doorway standing wide open, his manner and method 
were so perfect in all respects that the nervous man was Eales, 
not Louison ; and Eales would have been puzzled to say 
whether he was not more amazed at finding himself in the 
presence of his client, than he had been from the fact that, 
during the whole of the period he had worked for him he 
had been obliged to take him on trust. 

" Mr. Joseph Eales, I presume," said the old gentleman 
rising, "I'm glad to make your acquaintance. Your father 
was long a faithful friend to me, and you, I am glad to know, 
have been no less." 

Eales bowed, acknowledged the gracious compliment, 
and hoped the relations would be equally agreeable in the 
future 



•240 GOLDEN LIVES. 

They then sat down at the library table, Mr. Louison with 
his back to the secret doorway and Eales opposite to him. 
There was a pause. It was obviously difficult for Eales to 
take the lead, and yet he had much to say that must sooner or 
later be said. He waited for his client to recommence the 
conversation, and watched him as he methodically arranged 
his papers and his books. It was thus, thought Eales to 
himself, he reviewed my weekly statements, and went through 
them away here in the quiet recesses of Maida Lodge, lighted 
by the window from above, and excluded from all the outer 
world — the noise of traffic, the intrusion of callers, and the 
officious care of relatives. 

" Mr. Eales," said the old gentleman, " this interview is a 
variation of our practice hitherto. I propose we continue to 
meet weekly at this hour and on this day of the week, the 
papers having been delivered the day before. These meetings 
will be for our ordinary business. We have now, however, 
some extraordinary and very pressing business. It is that we 
have met to discuss to-day." 

Eales assented generally, being still undesirous of breaking 
the current of Mr. Louison's thoughts. 

" Mr. Eales," he resumed, sitting in his reading chair with 
one hand on the table and looking away in the distance, " Mr. 
Eales, I have broken the custom of the past and sent for you 
especially to-day to consult on the subject of the defence of my 
nephew, David Thresher. I charge myself with that duty. 
Mr. Eales, I desire that you spare no trouble or expense, but 
command the resources of the Universe to put an end to the 
absurd charge that our enemies have devised to annoy us." 

The reference to " our enemies " revived in Eales's mind a 
suspicion of the old mania, but, being wise, he made no 
comment, and proceeded straightway to the subject of the 
projected defence. 

" He is my sister's son, Mr. Eales," said the old man gazing 
wistfully across the room as if in reverie, with his left hand 
lying listlessly on the table, his right on the arm of the chair, 
and sadness in every tone of his voice. 

He remained so for some time, and Eales waited with 
growing sympathy. The opportunity for him to speak on 
matters that Were Uppermost in his mind had not yet come. 



AN AWAKENING. 241 

" Mr. Bales," said the old man, turning to him, " I think it 
will be best, now that we have become personally acquainted, 
that I should speak quite fully to you as I used to your father. 
You will be able to assist me better if I think aloud to you. 
We shall make fewer mistakes if we consult without reserve." 

Eales bowed assent, but still waited. He wanted his client 
to define their relations in his own way. Mr. Louison 
resumed : 

" The thing that weighs most heavily upon me just now, 
that oppresses me even more than the knowledge of the peril 
in which my nephew stands, is the fear that I have in some 
way been the cause of his present position, or have at least 
contributed to that cause, by specific actions, or generally by 
a manner of life that has in some way influenced events to his 
detriment." 

Here was an opportunity for Bales, and he took it. Said he, 

" I regret to say I feel there is cause, sir, for your fear." 

" Ah," exclaimed the old man in a state of great nervous 
excitement, " you say so. It's most unfortunate, but who 
could foresee it ? And, you know, the catastrophe has 
happened almost at the very moment of my gaining a know- 
ledge of my nephew's disposition, and on the very day on 
which I had discovered that his companionship was to become 
the first necessity for my future happiness. It's a fearful 
punishment for a mere error of judgment. But do you really 
think I could be held responsible for such consequences ? " 

He asked the question with a look of eager enquiry, and an 
answer in the negative turned the expression on his face to one 
of extreme sadness. 

" You cannot be held responsible," said Eales, " for the 
consequences of actions innocent in themselves, although 
unusual, especially when, as is the case in this instance, the 
consequences are the result only of reflection, and have no 
actual connection with the event you deplore." 

" I do not understand you," said the old man with a return 
of the eager look ; and Eales, who had been purposely a little 
obscure, found himself getting full possession of the field. 
He resumed : 

"You are probably aware that your recent absence has been 
a subject of enquiry by the police." 



242 GOLDEN LIVES. 

"Yes," said the old man with a curious expression of 
unconcern coming over his face. " Yes ; Cheriton told me 
something of that, but it was quite unnecessary — quite." 

" I am afraid I must divide the responsibility of the enquiry 
with Cheriton," said Eales, looking fixedly at his client, " and 
perhaps Cheriton would say I was wholly responsible." 

" Oh," said Mr. Louison, with all nervousness and anxiety 
thoroughly dispersed, and in their place a sharp business-like 
manner, that may be described as almost snappy 

" I was summoned by your housekeeper, as your solicitor," 
said Eales, " and I proceeded to act as your solicitor in the only 
way I or any other solicitor in similar circumstances could act." 

" Oh," repeated Mr. Louison, with the same expression, 
and again Eales proceeded. He was getting the facts laid 
out, so as to ascertain, without the risk of offending his client 
by direct questions the exact grounds and method of the 
supposed kidnapping. Said he : 

" I was informed that you had been kidnapped, and I imme- 
diately went to Scotland Yard to have you found." 

" And Scotland Yard didn't find me, eh ? " 

Eales laughed. 

" I was not kidnapped," said the old man, with a whimsical 
smile. " I walked out of my house, as any man has a right to 
do, and went on a yachting cruise, as any man has a right to 
do, and as I have done at any time I chose during the last 
ten or twenty years." 

Mr. Louison looked across the table with a triumphant 
smile, as if he would challenge criticism on his conduct in 
relation to his rights as a British subject. 

" There can be no question of your right to go and come as 
you please, sir, nor can there be any question as to your right 
to seclusion ; what we are concerned about, however, is not 
your right, but the consequences of what has happened 
through the exercise of your undoubted right." 

" That's very good, Mr. Eales ; very good. I'm beginning 
to understand you. I accept the principle, but shouldn't we 
get at once to the matter of my nephew's position ? " 

" I'm dealing with that position. It would not be proper 
for me to criticise your conduct, even inferentially, but with a 
view to your nephew's defence." 



AN AWAKENING. 2-1 :> 

" Go on, Mr. Eales," said the old man, with a revival of 
earnestness. '' (To on as fast as you can. I'm at your service." 

" Well, sir, you have met your nephew in the north ; you've 
been yachting with him ; and you have been sailing about the 
west coast of Scotland at a time when the police were seeking 
your nephew, and for days and days they could find no trace 
of you or of him." 

" Quite right," said Mr. Louison, with a chuckle. It was 
impossible for him to restrain his delight at the success of his 
scheme of seclusion. 

" This should be explained," said Eales ; " but when we set 
to work we meet a difficulty oir the very threshold. The 
police have been apprised of and have been solicited to enquire 
into your sudden and mysterious disappearance from your 
house under the impression that you had been kidnapped. 
The evidence that you had been kidnapped was complete on 
the surface ; but a doubt arises, whether, if the statements 
and circumstances were proved, collusion could not also be 
proved." 

"Between whom?" 

"You and your man Cheriton." 

"Very good, Mr. Eales. That is how the case presents 
itself to you as a lawyer. We will have Cheriton in and you 
shall examine him." 

" Presently, if you will ; but before seeing Cheriton I want 
to show you what we have to clear up." 

Mr. Louison nodded, and Eales proceeded : 

" Cheriton reports that you were kidnapped, and that he 
was bound and gagged. You say you were not kidnapped, but 
left the house of your own accord to go yachting. Cheriton's 
wife confirms her husband's statement in essential particulars by 
what she says she saw ; and others of the household add to the 
confirmation by other less important particulars. Then four 
things happen. Cheriton goes off after the fruitless police 
enquiry and joins you straight ; and your nephew apparently 
does the same immediately after occurrences in which he had 
played a part, and which have caused his name to be associated 
with the commission of a crime. You remain on the sea for 
days holding no communication with the land, so far as I or 
anyone else knows ; and then you all three return to this 

R 2 



244 GOLDEN LIVES. 

house together suddenly, and by means that no one can 
divine, for the house has been watched day and night, as you 
know, ever since you disappeared." 

"Well put, Mr. Eales," said the old man, still controlled 
by delight at the completeness of his devices for evading 
intrusion. 

" Yes," exclaimed Eales, with his eyes flashing. Departing, 
for the first time, from his cool matter-of-fact manner, and, 
becoming eloquent, he proceeded : 

" Yes, Mr. Louison, that may be well put ; but it will be 
put better and stronger by the other side, and it will go far to 
prove the case against your nephew, because, at the back 
of all this, they will exhibit circumstances and conditions 
that will provide an abundant motive for his committing the 
very crime he is charged with. Moreover, you may be charged 
with a guilty knowledge. It is this we have to face, and it is 
this we have to explain away " 

The old man became grave, and his aspect encouraged 
Eales to go on. He could not rid himself of the idea that his 
client was the victim of mania. There was abundant cause 
for the suspicion, yet he had strong hopes that it was merely a 
case of harmless eccentricity. The truth as to this question 
was of the first importance in guiding Eales as to his conduct 
of Thresher's defence ; and he set to work thoroughly to 
arouse his client to a sense of the urgency of the position. 
Accordingly he continued his argument, saying : 

"There is yet another point which adds to our difficulty, 
and may result in a new and very serious personal anxiety for 
your future." 

" Go on," said the old man, still gravely. 

" Well, sir, it was suggested by the detective, who enquired 
into the matter of your disappearance, that you, Mr. Walter 
Louison, may have been dead for twenty years past, and that 
the person now representing himself as Mr. Louison was an 
imposter, appropriating Mr. Louison's revenues, and hoping 
to inherit more by this alleged personation." 

" But here I am," exclaimed the old man, seriously alarmed. 

" Yes, you, whom I see before me, are here, but I have never 
seen you before this day, and it becomes necessary that you 
assist me to find evidence to prove that you are yourself, 



AN AWAKENINd. 2\~) 

because not only is this of importance in itself, but if doubt is 
cast upon your identity, and the allegation is made in Court 
that you are a personator, a jury would be prone to believe 
that you and Thresher were conspirators." 

"But I can bring dozens of people who have been out 
yachting with me at any time during these thirty years." 

" Yes," said Eales, " under the name of Speezer ; but why 
should we suppose Speezer is Louison? " 
"Because I am the same? " 

" "Who now living can certify that during all the years of 
your seclusion, Mr. Speezer on board his yacht is Mr. Louison 
of Maida Lodge ? " 
" Cheriton." 
" Anyone else? " 

The old man reflected, and was ultimately bound to confess 
there was no one. 

"Then," said Eales, "Cheriton is insufficient, and your 
dilemma is extreme. Cheriton is one of your party. The 
theory of the prosecution will be that he was in league with 
you, and, being under your control as his master, that he 
aided in what they will describe as the conspiracy." 

Matters having been probed thus far, and Mr. Louison's mind 
having now become thoroughly awakened to a true sense of 
the position, it was resolved to call in Cheriton, and with a 
view the better to inform himself and show to Mr. Louison 
what would happen if Cheriton was put in a witness-box, 
Eales insisted upon questioning Cheriton himself. 

Cheriton came in with the old terrier instinct revived ; he 
glanced from one to the other with comical alertness, and 
exhibited all the signs of extreme nervousness combined with 
obstinate determination to play his master's game. 

"Do you remember," asked Bales, " that on the morning I 
was sent for, because of the non-appearance of Mr. Louison, 
you said he was kidnapped? " 

Cheriton looked sharply towards his master in hopes of a hint, 
and found his master gravely mending a quill pen. Cheriton 
accordingly knit his brows, looked at his boots, and said : 
" Yes, sir, I thought so." 

" How then was it you went straight to Mr. Louison on 
leaving here after the investigation ? " 



'246 GOLDEN LIVES. 

" Because Mr. Louison had arranged to go north to purchase 
a yacht, and I felt certain if he was able he would go to the 
place arranged, and I went to see." 

" Why didn't you make us acquainted with this before ? " 

Another quick glance at his master and his questioner 
followed by an inspection of his boots, resulted in a diplomatic 
answer : 

" I have never spoken of master's intentions. He doesn't 
like it." 

" But this might have put us on the track." 

Too quick came the answer : 

" He didn't want it." 

Bales looked at his client significantly, and then said he had 
nothing more to ask of Cheriton, who withdrew, without in 
the least being aware he had admitted collusion in the comedy 
of his master's abduction, and shown conclusively that he 
could never be trusted in a witness-box to make plain the 
innocent character of the alleged abduction and the equally 
innocent journey of Thresher to the north. 

" And to think," said the old man, " that my poor nephew 
is now in prison." 




CHAPTEK XXXII. 



THE FIRST ACT. 



The Brighton murder became the topic of the hour. The 
Parliamentary session was about ending, and the political 
drama had become stale and correspondingly uninteresting. 
The Bow Street Police Court — always a centre of attraction to 
those afflicted with the craving for the melodrama of life — 
provided the closing sensation of the season ; and the magis- 
trate of the day, rising to the demands of his audience, pro- 
ceeded, with all the form and circumstance the simple incident 
permitted, to consider the question as to whether he should or 
should not remit David Thresher to the Brighton magistrates 
on the charge of murder. 

What is it about crime and allegation of crime that attracts ? 
Is it the otherwise latent demoniacal spirit in man assuming 
the ascendant, and rejoicing over the fact that another has 
succumbed to passion or despair? Is it the revival of that 
instinct suppressed by civilisation which gloats over a victim's 
sufferings, laughs at his wounds, and laves its hands in his 
blood? Immediately and directly it must come from the 
exaggeration and distortion of the hunting and fighting 
spirit, which finds legitimate expression in the work of the 
pioneer, in athletics, and in sportsmanlike sport. 

The court was crowded with the ordinary attendants on 
the administration of justice, and many others not usually 
found among the regular representatives of the British public. 




248 GOLDEN LIVES. 

The motly crowd at the back of the court were supported in 
their desire to see the law administered with decorum and 
impartiality by at least half-a-dozen men who, but for this 
event, would have been in Pall Mall or the park, two or three 
law students, who attended as a duty and a right, a clergyman 
who frequented police-courts as a student of human nature, 
and a local butcher to whom the police-court was a theatre. 
Of course the journalist was there of every shade of 
character and disposition, from the dull chronicler of sober 
fact to the latter-day pest, who interviews everyone con- 
nected with anything concerning which he can manage 
by hook or by crook to form a text, upon which he can 
hang what he calls a moral. They were all there cynically 
indifferent to every human aspiration, and sympathetic only 
for what has come to be known as a "sensation" — an eager, 
striving, callous, but persistent army, the precise embodiment 
in exact ratio of the public they serve, for if the public did not 
demand their exaggeration and distortion, their inaccuracy and 
unreason, they would not be. 

And standing in the midst of the crowd, solitary, and ex- 
cluded from all participation in the commanding interest of 
the scene, was David Thresher, as pale as if in death, but 
absolutely calm and erect — not defiant, but resolute, and no 
one in the court who had a fair look at his face could fail to be 
struck with the depth and charm of his large dark eyes, the 
power of which was heightened by the extreme pallor of his 
forehead. The women in the court " thought it lovely." 

The facts and circumstances of the incident that had caused 
the gathering were stated with much complacency by the 
representative of the Crown, two or three facts were formally 
deposed to, the warrant was exhibited, and the order to remit 
the prisoner was made, as a matter of course. 

The whole affair lasted only ten minutes, and the spectators 
felt they had a grievance in being treated to so little after so 
much anxious struggling and waiting. Justice, however, is 
proverbially indifferent to small grievances, and the attendant 
public dispersed with the feeling that there were some wrongs 
for which the law provided no remedy. 



CHAPTEB XXXIII. 

A CONFLAGRATION. 

Isabkl's first impulse was to join her strength with the 
legitimate defenders of her friend, but her interview with 
Eales had set her thinking much more seriously on the position 
she herself occupied in the case. 

In full accordance with her message to Thresher, and, in a 
modified sense, with the spirit of his rejoinder, Isabel resolved 
to act, not only independently, but with vigour. She set out 
to see her husband ! 

It was necessary that she should protect herself as the first 
step towards protecting her friend, and before starting for the 
Midlands she wrote two notes to Mr. "Ware that very much 
increased the old gentleman's respect and admiration for her ; 
and, reviving the natural gallantry of his disposition, caused 
him to swear something very much like an oath of knightly 
allegiance to his brilliant client, all in the secret recesses of his 
inner room, and altogether beyond the knowledge of even his 
confidential clerk. 

"My dear Mr. Ware," wrote Isabel, "I have again to 
trespass upon your good nature in a matter that causes me 
some anxiety I refer to the consequences of the deaths of the 
two women servants in the house we had at Brighton. I have 
been catechised by the police, and am afraid our names will be 
brought in at the various public proceedings. I should be 
much obliged if you would watch these proceedings on my 
behalf, especially to prevent my being further mixed up with 
the case. I enclose a note that will introduce you to Mr. 
Eales, the solicitor to my unfortunate friend, whom I desire all 
in my power to assist. You will much oblige me if you would 
speak to him, and say how much I should like you to co- 
operate." 

"I will," said Mr. Ware, "I will ; with all my heart, I 
will." 

And the old gentleman stood up and kissed his hand to an 
imaginary Mrs. Cope in the far distance. 



250 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



And he did speak to Mr. Eales to the advantage of all 
concerned, for his circumspection could not fail to be of use in 
any matter whatsoever. 

Isabel's first impulse was to go alone to Halesowen, but on 
reflection she concluded it would be prudent to continue her 
policy of entrenchment within a circumvallation of domestics, 
and certainly on a mission in which it may become apparent 
to one's opponent that your very existence is undesirable, it 
is advisable to have other people about. Jacobs the maid and 
Jacobs the valet therefore were in attendance. 

Lady Arabella would have been useful on this occasion, but 
Lady Arabella had found it expedient to go on the Continent 
without leaving her address. Lady Arabella had come to the 
conclusion on the day the detectives had questioned her that 
dear Mrs. Cope was all very well, but that her friendship could 
be purchased at too dear a price. She did not so much object 
to the poisoning — of course she was very sorry for the women, 
she said— but policemen and coroners and people of that sort 
were most objectionable. She really couldn't think of being 
mixed up with them and their vulgarities, so as soon as the 
news came to her that David Thresher had given himself up, 
she packed up her wardrobe and departed, leaving a little note : 

" So sorry, my dear, but my uncle has telegraphed forme, 
and it is absolutely impossible for me to deny him. None of 
us dare do so. If you want me very much telegraph and I will 
come at once. So very sorry, but see you again 
soon." 

The capacity for graceful lying is brought to 
such a high state of perfection in these days 
that honest, straightforward folk like Isabel fail 
to recognise that it is lying, and the cynical 
wonder whether it is not better to have the 
lies ; they're so much more amusing. 

So Lady Arabella went out of the life 
of dear Mrs. Cope reflecting that she had had 
a very narrow escape, and not quite sure 
that her delicate reputation was not a little 
smirched by the contact ; but she consoled 
herself with the knowledge that people have 
short memories, especially in society where 




A CONFLAGBATION. '251 

scandal follows scandal with frivolous volubility; and, being 
conscious of this failing personally, she had in the goodness of 
her heart packed up a few keepsakes of dear Mrs. Cope, with 
nil the appearance of accident, just to remember her very good 
friend by when miles and miles away. So nice of her ! 

The advent of a lady of position accompanied by two 
servants at the principal commercial hotel in Dudley was an 
event so unusual as to excite general surprise, for it was 
commonly accepted as beyond question that Dudley was not 
a summer resort for the opulent ; and when after a light dinner 
about nine o'clock at night an order was given for a carriage to 
drive to Halesowen the humour of the situation was complete in 
the opinion of the chamber-maid and the boots, for assuming 
the outrage of any lady desiring to go to Halesowen at all, 
what could possibly have induced her to go at night and by way 
of Dudley. 

But so it happened, and, with Jacobs the brother on the box 
and Jacobs the maid inside, the journey of inspection was 
begun. It was a dreary enterprise, but far from purposeless. 
Isabel's idea was to coerce Cope into co-operation with the 
army of defence, and inasmuch as every hour of Thresher's 
imprisonment was a pang to her, she resolved to hunt her 
husband down. Her purpose however was not easily carried out, 
for much to her annoyance and disappointment her way was 
stopped by a wildly excited crowd gathered round a burning 
building that none made even the slightest effort to save. It 
was Mr. Louison's model warehouse that had been prepared 
for firing, and was destroyed before it had been completed. 

There was a good deal of tar about, provided for covering the 
iron work of the building, and the presence of the barrels had 
evidently suggested the act of the incendiary. The conflagra- 
tion was in keeping with the rest of the scene ; the flames were 
dulled by the all-pervading smoke which every now and then 
was lifted to show the havoc that the fire had made, and then it 
lowered again as if it were jealous of giving the miserable 
people the luxury of a spectacle. The coachman was for 
forcing his way through the crowd, but Isabel preferred first to 
see what was afoot. 

Jacobs on the box reported the appearance of a little bent 
man on a tub gesticulating in the gloom to an angry mob. It 



2 5 2 GOLDEN LIVES. 

was Ebenezer Warp denouncing Cope as the incendiary. He 
had seen him near the place before the fire broke out, and he 
counselled retaliation with many imprecations of an apparently 
exhilarating character, and what was more alarming, with a 
distinct reference to the visitors in the carriage towards whom 
the entire mass of humanity moved with a settled purpose that 
there was no resisting. 

It appeared that the barrel from which old Ebenezer had 
been haranguing his friends was full of tar, and his scheme of 
dramatic justice was to use it to put Cope's warehouse in ruins. 
The presence of the carriage he regarded as providential, and 
its use was requisitioned to carry the barrel to the scene of 
action. 

Isabel was naturally alarmed when she found herself 
surrounded by the mob. Their pinched faces and eager 
searching eyes would have startled anyone, and the growing 
darkness added to the threatening appearance of the crowd. 
Even the constantly repeated shouting of the stronger men 
that the ladies were not to be touched was not altogether 
reassuring because it indicated that mischief of some sort was 
brewing. There was however no means of resisting whatever 
might be determined, and in a very few minutes from the time 
Ebenezer left the tub it was swung on to the footboard and the 
horse was led by two of the men to see the driver did not carry 
off their prize. 

In half-an-hour the mob had arrived at Cope's warehouse, 
the barrel was taken from the carriage, and a dozen or two of 
the more determined crowded round with grinning satisfaction 
to thank the ladies for their assistance. Some of them wanted 
to shake hands in token that there was no ill-feeling, but the 
hoarse-throated women pulled them back and the carriage 
passed on. 

Sufficient had occurred to make Isabel curious as to how this 
strange incident would end, and after continuing the drive a 
short distance she stopped and finally returned to within a safe 
distance of the building that she afterwards learned was Cope's 
warehouse. There she was a witness to and practically a 
participator in a weird and terrible scene. The windows of 
the large room in the basement had been broken open, the 
contents of the tar barrel had been strewn about, the floor and 



A CONFLAGRATION. 



iOO 




the 
barrel 
itself 
had been set 
on fire. By the 
time Isabel had 
returned, the en- 
tire basement of the 
building was belching 
dense black smoke and 
lurid flame ; and when 

Ti*'^ > "^^f^^- $&& £ s'f/ f^ an occas i° na l & us t °f 

- f /',&.■„' 'S/yfflffl/tfRBEeLfflwffiM// / wind swung the smoke away 

to the opposite side she 
thought she could descry a figure 
moving on the roof of the burning 
building. A few minutes later and 
this figure was seen by the mob, 
and a yell of delight went up when it became 
/ certain that the figure was Cope himself, 
smoked out of an upper room where he 
occasionally sought seclusion and a hammock. His position 
was perilous indeed. The staircase was burnt down, the 
first floor was filled with smoke and fire, and the attics 
alone were habitable. Cope was making an inspection of 
the roof, and although his movements seemed erratic and 
aimless, they were, as a matter of fact, eminently practical. 
It was clear to him that the mob expected him to be 
burnt alive, and it was equally clear that his fate would be 
scarcely improved by falling into their hands. He knew how 
the nailers hated him. He had spent half a lifetime in 
grinding gold out of them, and spurning them as they laid it 
at his feet. None knew better than he how sweet and terrible 
would be the retaliation when once an opportunity offered for 



256 GOLDEN LIVES. 

exacting it. Scheming his escape on the top of the house, he 
reasoned that the flames once passed, they would be evaded, but 
that his body would be as fuel to the passions of the mob. 
Harsh as was the alternative, he preferred to risk a fall upon a 
heap of broken iron in a roofless shed to being torn in pieces 
by the infuriated nailers. So he skirted his body with a 
blanket and wrapped another round his head. Over all he put 
a third, and, holding it down with his hands, coolly rolled over 
the parapet where the smoke was densest, and came with a 
crash and a bound into the middle of the shed where the 
crowd was unable to approach for the heat. There on the 
ground he lay disabled and stunned, but free from molestation. 

So long as the flames continued to assert themselves the 
spirits of the crowd remained at fever heat, and yells of 
denunciation of Cope were frequent. That they could not see 
him was an additional incentive to their rage ; but after 
giving vent to a wild shout of triumph as the roof fell in, their 
ardour cooled with the falling flames. They felt assured of the 
end of Cope, but their joy was the faint and fitful elation of 
gratified revenge ; and as it spent itself they slunk away to 
their homes in groups of two and three, for with fatigue comes 
repentance. 

There was not a doubt in the mind of Isabel but that Cope 
had perished in the flames, and the question with her was 
whether she should hasten back to Dudley for assistance, or 
direct Jacobs and the driver to make an examination in the 
bare hope of finding him still alive. She resolved on the latter 
course, but as there was no chance of entering the building 
while the ruins yet smouldered, the two men were unable to 
do more than make a tour of the outside, much of which 
was exposed to view from the roadway. Some parts of 
the rear of the building, however, were enclosed by the 
sheds, and in one of these was a heap of broken iron — pipes, 
girders and rails, "boilers, geared wheels, and other elements 
of the ironmaster's scrap-heap, variously jagged, and the 
very reverse of a feather bed. Upon this lay the bundle of 
smouldering blankets which enclosed the form of Joshua 
Cope. 

Notwithstanding its character, this fearful pile of broken iron 
was the only place Cope could have chosen for his fall so as to 



: ^#> 




A CONFLAGRATION. '25'J 

be free both from the flames and the fury of the mob. The 
contents of the bundle were not in the least suspected by the 
two men, but on close inspection one of the old man's legs was 
descried with the trouser smouldering on it as he lay insensible 
even to the pain of seething flesh. 

The blanket round his head was removed, and, finding he 
still breathed, they lifted him out into the open yard away from 
the heat of the building, and soon extinguished the burning 
clothes. The carriage being at hand, Isabel resolved to take 
him to Dudley. To assist in this, both she and her maid rode 
beside the driver, while Jacobs sat inside with his master, who 
reclined in the bottom of the carriage, with his head and 
shoulders resting against one of the doors. He remained 
insensible throughout the journey, and gave no sign of life 
even when lying on a bed on the first floor of the hotel— a 
miserable object with both arms fractured and both legs fear- 
fully burnt, one of them being almost beyond recognition as a 
limb. 

The local doctor recommended surgical aid ; and accordingly 
a surgeon of eminence was summoned. He came, accom- 
panied by a nurse of superior muscular development, and of 
stern demeanour. The surgeon, who attributed his profes- 
sional success to his artistic appearance and his melodramatic 
manner, for he was dressed like a Tyrolese minstrel and 
operated like a conjurer, was much distressed that his patient 
was insensible, and therefore could not see him. He dressed 
on the theory that a surgeon should excite the artistic instincts 
of his patient and thus distract him from the contemplation of 
his physical sufferings. But what was the use of a powerful 
physiognomy, a magnificent head of hair, and a Byronic collar 
if the patient were insensible. Dr. Prod gave expression to 
his annoyance by pronouncing it a hopeless case. 



S U 



CHAPTEB XXXIV 

THE TBIUMPH OF COPE. 

Having responded to the dictates of an essentially human 
impulse in rescuing an old maimed man from a lingering 
death, Isabel began to reflect on the consequences of her action 
to herself. She was incapable of the daring hypocrisy of 




asserting that Cope's recovery was a cherished hope with her, 
but candour also required of her the admission that she did 
actually desire his recovery in the interest of Thresher. She 
felt that he alone could provide the evidence to preserve the 



THE TRIUMPH OF COPE. 261 

life of Thresher, and that she alone possessed the lever 
wherewith to extract it from him. The life that was not 
desired for its own sake had become precious because she 
thought it necessary to preserve the life she valued ; and 
although no motive of this kind could have controlled her in 
such a case, she reviewed the incident with much satisfaction 
because the thing it was right to do accorded so admirably 
with the thing that was desirable. If all moral impulse 
were so circumstanced virtue would be not only its own reward, 
but its own incentive. 

Cope's view of the tender consideration shown to him would 
have been a study in villainy and chagrin if only he had known 
the facts ; but he knew nothing, and thought of nothing on 
his awakening to consciousness but of the fact that he was 
really alive ; and this he attributed wholly to the adroitness of 
his escape. His feelings formed another example of the 
blessings of ignorance, for an entire week passed before he 
knew even how he had been discovered. 

At this time he was pretty much in the form of a mummy. 
Both his arms were in splinters, strapped to his sides ; his legs 
were each a mass of cotton wool ; and his face was haggard 
and marred by a large bruise on his cheek. His temper in 
these circumstances was execrable. Notwithstanding his age, 
it was his first illness ; and he had come to regard his immunity 
from disaster as a part of the scheme of the Universe. 
Throughout life he had systematically accepted risks that 
should have shipwrecked him a hundred times ; but he had 
always escaped, and with these escapes, which he persisted in 
regarding as the natural consequences of well-arranged schemes, 
he had acquired a spirit of boundless egotism. What he 
thought, what he schemed, what he wanted was right — incon- 
testably right ; and anything within the compass of the spheres 
that in any way conflicted with Joshua Cope's ambition was 
an error that the Universe was responsible for, and not Cope ; 
and, as a logical consequence, the laws of the Universe had to 
give w r ay in subjection to the purposes of the inexorable Cope. 

So complete was his egotism, that he had never from the 
first the slightest anxiety concerning himself in connection 
with the Brighton affair. If anyone could have discussed the 
circumstances with him he would have scouted the suggestion 



262 GOLDEN LIVES. 

of risk. The possibility of failure had never entered his mind ; 
and the idea of his having been reduced to impotence by the 
action of the nailers excited within him only amazement and 
indignation. The fact that he had survived, which to an 
ordinary person would have been a cause of thankfulness, was 
to him merely an act of conciliation or repentance upon the 
part of Providence due to the genius of Cope. 

It had been designed by Isabel that he should not be made 
aware of her intervention in the matter of his rescue ; but, 
unfortunately for her scheme, his man Jacobs was in the room 
when he regained consciousness. The mind, once awakened, 
was violently active ; and, finding himself a prisoner, he 
concentrated all the malice of his soul on the miserable 
Jacobs as representing not only himself but the Universe 
in general. 

"What do you mean by this?" he asked with oaths and 
imprecations. " This is a nice condition for me to be in. 
How did you get here ? ' ' 

The volley of oaths, as well as the suddenness of the 
onslaught, unnerved Jacobs, who said precisely the thing he 
should not. 

" Mrs. Cope brought me," said he. 

" The devil ! " exclaimed Cope, and incontinently fainted 
away. 

When he again awoke to consciousness the nurse was alone 
with him, and a curious colloquy ensued. The professional 
eye remarked the awakening, but nothing was said. She left 
it to the patient to open the conversation ; and the patient 
considered for some time before commencing the attack. 

"You're a nurse," he said. 

" Yes, sir. I hope you're feeling better." 

" Who engaged you ? " 

"Mrs. Cope." 

" The devil," he muttered, and then a grim smile came over 
his face, and he reflected. Presently he asked in a mild 
insinuating way : 

" How did Mrs. Cope know I was ill ? " 

" She found you." 

" Found me? " ejaculated the old man. 

" Yes ; but you'd better go to sleep now " 



THE TRIUMPH OF COPE. 263 

' No, I hadn't better go to sleep. I'm not going to sleep, 
nor to anything until you tell me exactly how I come to be 
here ; so begin." 

The tone was violent if not loud, and the nurse concluded 
it was better to satisfy him. She told the story briefly, and 
the old man's eye glistened with surprise as she described the 
accidental presence of Mrs. Cope on the scene. Then his face 
assumed an appearance of anger and malicious resolution. He 
made no comment, but his excitement was severe, and the 
nurse knew she had done wrong from the heavy drops of 
sweat that stood out on his forehead and the wild aspect of 
his eyes. 

" AYhere is Mrs. Cope ? " he asked. 

" I don't know," said the nurse ; " but you had better try to 
sleep a little." 

Quick as lightning came the rejoinder : 

" You are lying. Tell me the truth." 

The command came with such decision that the nurse 
confessed her belief that Mrs. Cope was in the hotel. 

" Of course she is. Get her here ! Quick ! " 

The nurse left the room, and considered the matter on the 
door-mat outside. The violent emotion of the patient must 
be allayed. Would the presence of Mrs. Cope allay or only 
aggravate it ? She consulted Mrs. Cope ; and Isabel, with an 
impetuosity that would have become a devoted wife, imme- 
diately responded to the request. The nurse thought it very 
natural. 

" So I owe my present position to you, madam ? " he sneered. 

Isabel assented, saying : 

"I could do no less." 

" What ? "' he shrieked. " She glories in it, the beldame." 

And then he set to work mumbling anathemas, and rolling 
his eyes in impotent rage in the firm belief that she had set 
the nailers on him. Presently his meaning began to dawn on 
her, but she repressed her indignation, and said : 

" When you are calmer I have something to say to you." 

She would have left the room at once, but he instantly 
apprehended her purpose, and with his usual cunning changed 
his tone, and said : 

" Now or never ; and quick." 



264 GOLDEN LIVES. 

Isabel hesitated only a moment, and then said in a firm, 
hold voice : 

" I came to seek you because David Thresher is charged 
with poisoning the servants in our house at Brighton, and — " 

" He'll be hanged too ; the sooner the better." 

" No," she exclaimed ; " he will not, because he is 
innocent." 

" Innocent or guilty, he'll be hanged, and serve him 
right." 

This was said with unusual vehemence and malignity, the 
more so as only the head of the speaker seemed to be alive ; 
but the response came with decision : 

" No, he will not be hanged, and you will save him, because 
you know him to be innocent." 

" I don't, and I won't, and I'd hang him myself if I 
could." 

" Shall I speak more plainly?" asked Isabel, impressively. 
She was leaning forward with her left hand on the back of a 
chair at some distance from the bed, and a slightly startled 
look came over the old man's face as she asked the question. 
He did not answer, but watched her keenly. 

" I heard the man who did the deed enter the house that 
night," she continued, " and I saw him leave." 

He winced, but merely said : 

" Did you, and what of that ? " 

" It was not David Thresher, and you know who it was." 

" I don't ; you lie," he exclaimed savagely. 

" You do know, and you will assist in procuring evidence to 
acquit my friend." 

" I will not ; I'll die first. If he were only hanged I'd die 
happy. I hate him ! " 

Isabel did not move a muscle at the fearful imprecations 
that followed this declaration, but with the same firmness as 
had hitherto marked her manner she said : 

" If you do not comply with my wish I propose to act 
myself. I leave here to-morrow afternoon. I shall send a 
message to you at noon." 

" You needn't," said the head, writhing impotently, but with 
undisguised malice in every lineament of the face, " I have 
never changed my purpose and I never will." 



THE TRIUMPH OF COVE. 



265 



Isabel was about to answer, when Cope suddenly exclaimed : 
" Wait ! " in a tone that in some sort indicated repentance to 
the hearer ; and then he said : 

" Bring in the nurse." 

The nurse was waiting in the passage, and on her entering 
Cope said, looking at her appealingly : 

" You are appointed by the doctor to attend on me." 

" Yes, sir." 

" It is your duty to see I am not injured by any one." 
Yes, sir. 

" Then," he added, raising his voice almost to a scream, and 
speaking with marvellous rapidity, " See this woman off the 
premises within an hour. She's my wife, but she'll kill me. 
She's the paramour of the poisoner of the women at Brighton. 
She set my workpeople on to destroy me. She'll poison my 
food. Get her away, away, away" 

As the nurse, impelled by professional obligation, led Isabel 
from the room, a ghastly smile and a devilish sparkle of the 
eye lit up his face — a gleeful transport at the success of his 
scheme. He was a cripple, he thought, but still triumphant. 




CHAPTEE XXXV 

INTROSPECTION. 

Isabel had failed ; and but for the great passion of her life she 
would have despaired. The consciousness of her weakness in 
the presence of overpowering circumstances that threatened 
the life of her friend bewildered her and almost unnerved her. 
She had come to Cope with no definite purpose beyond pro- 
curing his co-operation through fear. He had responded by 
striking at her with reckless daring. He had shattered her 
hopes so effectually that she felt almost guilty of the crimes 
he imputed to her. 

It would have been a time of weeping with most women, 
but Isabel did not weep. Introspection was her panacea for 
mental distress, but on this occasion it resulted in rebellion 
and resentment at what she conceived to be the injustice to 
which events had subjected her. Nothing that she had 
done could, in her opinion, legitimately result in the series 
of disasters that had befallen her. The indiscretion of 
Thresher's midnight visit curiously never struck her as an 
impropriety, and she had never until this moment traced any 
evil consequences to it. She had indeed always regarded it as 
an ordinary occurrence, and as in natural sequence to the 
deception which had been practised upon her by her father. 
Cope's denunciation of her, however, awakened new reflec- 
tions, and although concern for her own reputation had 
hitherto been but a small factor in the case as it presented 
itself to her mind, she now regarded her position as exceed- 
ingly perilous, because it was not only dangerous to herself, 
but reacted on Thresher. 

The words of Cope had fallen upon her as a succession of 
blows, and the only shield she could present against them — 
the flimsy gossamer of Cope's fears and apprehensions — had 
been worse than useless. She had provoked attack, and was 
utterly worsted. 

Then followed a sense of extreme loneliness. She needed 
counsel, but to whom could she go ? And if she found a 



INTROSPECTION. 207 

counsellor, what could she say ? The one great fact that formed 
the pivot of all her reasoning she dared not mention. 

She called the nurse and enquired as to the situation. She 
was told that the gentleman was very light-headed and still 
" going on." The nurse thought my lady had best not see 
him again until after the doctor had called because she seemed 
to excite him, to which Isabel replied that she might tell her 
patient that she was leaving for London by the next train — a 
declaration that would have surprised the nurse if she had not 
put it down as a sick-room fiction contrived for the benefit of 
the patient. As a matter of fact, however, Isabel did go by 
the next train to London, and on reaching home sent for Mr. 
"Ware, who gave the advice that every sensible man would 
have given in similar circumstances : to leave the matter in 
the hands of those to whom it was committed — an impotent 
conclusion, nevertheless, wholly unsuited to allay the eager 
spirit of a devoted woman. 



CHAPTBK XXXVI. 

THE PEACTICE OF THE LAW. 

The gladiatorial displays of old Eome have their prototype 
to-day in the fashionable trial, which excites the brutal 
instincts of the spectator and gives pleasure in proportion to 
the danger or sufferings of [the victim. Counsel, witnesses, 
and Court officials are each conscious of a histrionic disposition, 
when the gallery is crowded, and the gangways are choked 
with the striving populace ; every interest has its representa- 
tive at the entertainment, and, in some instances, not even the 
Judge upon the Bench is free from the vulgar passion for display. 
The trial of David Thresher was a rare opportunity. He 
was not merely one of the better classes, which was in itself 
a ground for special interest, but he was handsome and he was 
regarded as an eccentric criminal ; for of course he was guilty, 
else why was he in the dock. Opinion was divided as to the 
motive, for, although it was generally admitted he did not 
intend to poison the two women he had never seen or heard 
of, yet the popular voice inclined to the conclusion that his 
malice was directed to Isabel, who had jilted him, rather than 
towards Miss Winscomb whose death would not of necessity 
be to his advantage. The public was in fact very much of opinion 
that revenge rather than cupidity had controlled the interesting 
malefactor, and this belief made the situation all the more 
attractive. Jealousy and revenge are far more popular motives, 
dramatically regarded, than greed ; and those who review 
public opinion would have said that the people decided 
on jealousy of Cope as the motive of the crime only because 
it was more agreeable to associate the incident with the grand 
passion than with one of a coarser type. The majority has 
always preferred melodrama. 

Ignorance of the facts was of course at the bottom of this 
wrongheadedness ; but facts, as a rule, are hard to get at, and 
the faculty of reasoning is not common enough to make it a 
matter of real importance to anyone whether the public has 
fact or fiction to deal with. The result would probably be 



THE PRACTICE OF THE LAW 269 

the same in either case. The public enjoys being wrong. It 
would never be enthusiastic about anything if it regarded 
accuracy ; and if Society were denied its scandal, its lions, its 
private views, its dress rehearsals, and its popular trials, what 
would become of it ? David Thresher was supplying a want, 
and had he known his duty to Society he would have been 
gratified. 

The leading counsel for the prosecution was typical of the 
melodramatic bar. He was an eminent politician and a 
notorious bully. He had elbowed his way to the front by the 
insolent repression of ability that had not the good fortune to 

be associated with presumption, 
and, since he fulfilled the first 
condition of the commercial aspect 
of the profession — that he won 
cases — he had come to be regarded 
as invulnerable, and in conse- 
quence a forensic star of the first 
magnitude. Thresher had the 
misfortune to be defended by a 
gentleman. 

Isabel was very much alone in 
that seething throng. She sat in 
the gallery, having her friend, the 
prisoner, on her right, the judge 
on her left, and the jury opposite. 
The bar was below briefed and briefless, and the press was there 
in a flood. All the descriptive men were there, contemptuous 
of fact as of shorthand, from excess of imagination and love of 
the picturesque. The general public was there in its thirst 
for excitement, and its passion for the study of the criminal 
law; and Society was there, on the bench by virtue of its 
political status, in the gallery by virtue of special orders, and 
in all the best places because it was " Society." All the con- 
ditions of the modern gratis show were complied with, and the 
most exacting could not have hoped for a more sensitive victim 
or more acute suffering on the part of those near to him, than 
was provided by these proceedings. 

The Judge was, perhaps, the least influenced by the histrionic 
aspect of the display, but still he was human. He felt com- 




270 GOLDEN LIVES. 

plimented by the largeness of the gathering, and congratulated 
himself on his good fortune in being relieved of the monotony 
of nisi priiis and being provided with a study in artistic 
crime. A man who could conceive of poisoning people 
with eggs he regarded with scientific interest, for one of 
his most cherished delusions was that he had early exhibited 
a genius for scientific research, and might have been a 
great discoverer in the realm of natural philosophy had not 
a perverse fate led him to the bar. A trial of this character 
was in the nature of a rare opportunity, and he entered upon 
it with zest. Thus it came to pass, that the entire company 
there gathered together were eminently pleased with them- 
selves for being there, and had made up their minds for a day's 
rare enjoyment. Thresher and his immediate circle of friends 
must of course be excepted from the general ; but they were 
only three, including Bales. 

The trial was not a long one. Much time was spent in 
proving quite obvious facts from the necessity of getting put on 
record in due form the notorious as well as the novel. The 
position soon, however, looked black for Thresher. He had in 
his possession a key of the front door of the house at Brighton, 
and although it was explained that the lock on the house at 
Brighton was one of a series provided for the firm of Schrieber 
and Co., and that he had a key because he had been a partner, 
the fact remained that he had a key and could enter the house 
at will. " Moreover," demanded the prosecuting counsel, 
with a look of horror, "why had he not given up the key, 
when he ceased to be a partner of Schrieber & Co. ? " It was 
true the lock had been put there by Mr. Foyle, to save him the 
trouble of carrying an extra key, and it was equally true that 
Thresher did not know he had the key to it, but this could not 
be proved, and was only suggested. How could anyone 
prove that a man does not know a thing ? What could be and 
what was proved was that he had the key, and the key was 
shown and the lock too. It was not asking much of the jury 
to believe that a man who had a key should know it opened a 
given lock. It was not a very long step from the fact that the 
key was in his pocket to the belief that he had heard that one 
of the locks it opened was on the door of the house at Brighton. 
He had been a partner with Foyle, in daily communication, in 



THE PRACTICE OK THE LAW. 'J 71 

domestic relations, and peculiarly intimate. Surely it was 
easier to believe that lie knew about the Brighton lock 
than that he did not. The key was a very sad business 
for Thresher. 

Then he had some white plaster in his house, bought, 
so they said, for mending a curio. The experts revelled 
in this white plaster for a long time. One set declared 
that it was identical with that found in the eggs, and 
another set were equally confident of the reverse. The 
natural tendency of the human mind was to go with the 
former set. White plaster is white plaster, and the posses- 
sion of it shows it could have been used for manipulating the 
eggs, and this also is a short step from the conviction that 
it was so used. 

But he was seen — seen issuing from the house at Brighton, 
of which he had the key, at two in the morning or later, by 
the policeman on the beat, on the very night before the women 
were poisoned. That was a damning fact, not capable of 
refutation, nor even of dispute. What business had he there, 
and by what right was he in a house not his own, and without 
the knowledge of its owner ? Thus reasoned the triumphant 
extractor of verdicts, and so winced the friends of Thresher. 
This was unanswerable. There was no alibi. Thresher, all 
admitted, was in Brighton that night, and he left the next day, 
not actually in haste, but having given no sign of an intended 
departure until that day. 

Moreover, he gave no explanation of his movements that 
night ; but if he did not, others did. He was admitted to his 
hotel between two and three in the morning by the night 
porter, and he had not been seen by any of the hotel servants 
from half-past ten on that same night until he returned. This 
was all in perfect confirmation of the statement of the constable, 
and none could doubt that Thresher was there. The policeman 
might have been deceived in the darkness as to his identity, 
but the night porter of the hotel could not be mistaken. 
Thresher was well-known to him, and he addressed him by name 
when he let him in. Apart from the main incidents, and the 
associated facts, there was nothing extraordinary in his late 
return. There might have been a hundred causes for absence, 
all natural and even commonplace— an argument with a 



272 GOLDEN LIVES. 

friend, a game at billiards, a late supper ; but there stood 
Thresher, and none of these possibilities were even hinted at, 
much less proved. 

No one but the policeman and the night porter were found 
to say where he was on that fearful night, and their state- 
ments, simple as they were, rang like a death-knell in Isabel's 
ears. Dizzy and blinded with emotion the Court swung round 
and round with her, and her heart seemed to stop. Then 
came the mental effort and a straining wrench of the rail in 
front of her, the sickening revulsion that comes with reviving 
power, and then she breathed again to think and nerve herself 
to reconstrue the situation. 

The brutal energy of the prosecuting counsel acted as a 
tonic with her, for anger is ever a better taskmaster than love. 
The distinguished counsel revelled with ghoulish satisfaction 
in the completeness of the meshes he had woven round his 
victim. If the crowning joy of his life had been to prepare 
subjects for the hangman he could not have dwelt with more 
enthusiasm upon the petty incidents that, pieced together, 
spelt scaffold at every turn. Thresher's presence at Brighton, 
and in the house, was the clinching fact to which he reverted 
time after time at the end of every period of constructive 
comment ; but bis method awakened in the heart of Isabel a 
passionate hatred, with which pride had something to do ; for, 
in the course of his headlong declaration, he offered an alter- 
native of two motives to the jury, one of prospective gain 
through the death of Miss Winscomb, and the other of 
revenge through the death of herself; and he dwelt upon the 
probabilities in each case with a minuteness and a callous 
disregard of the possibility of the actual truth that Vvas 
positively maddening. 

Isabel had her revenge. She did not reason as to her 
course but, intuitively, she rushed to a conclusion. Imme- 
diately her enemy had sat down, eminently gratified with his 
own performance, and whilst the ushers were silencing the 
cheers of his delighted audience, she rose in the gallery, 
and in a voice clear as a bell and rich in volume, she 
exclaimed : 

" My lord, I know something of this matter that should be 
spoken." 



THE PKACTK'H OF THE LAW. 'J7:> 

And there she stood, calm and erect, unveiled, and with her 
pale face bent eagerly towards the judge as she broke the 
silence that ensued. 

" I appeal to you, my lord, to hear me." 

The judge was annoyed. Nothing annoys a judge more 
than an irregularity, and here was a most improper interven- 
tion of an utter stranger in a case of the first importance at a 
point when everything connected with it was closing up in a 
decent, orderly and regular manner. He had cause to be 
annoyed ; but he looked at Isabel as she stood before him, and 
he looked long before he spoke. Everybody in Court looked. 
He shuffled his notes about and reflected, had another look, 
and then asked : 

" Do you know this per — this lady, Mr. Attorney ? " 

" No, my lord," said the prosecuting counsel, savagely He 
guessed there was something afoot adverse to his cause. 

" Nor you, Sir Henry? " enquired the judge of the defending 
counsel. 

" Yes, my lord," was the reply. "This is Mrs. Cope, of 
whom we have heard in this case." 

" Do you know what she has to say ? " 

He did not, but knowing he had no case, and thinking that, 
while it could not be made worse, it might be made better, he 
expressed the opinion that in the interest of justice she should be 
heard. The jury all eagerly supported this deliverance, and the 
entire Court would have applauded if it had dared. The judge 
hesitated. It was most irregular— not unprecedented, but 
irregular. He hesitated still more, and before he had determined 
on a course, the rich full voice burst upon the Court again : 

" My lord, he came to the house that fatal night, on my 
invitation, and I let him in. While there with me another 
entered the house secretly, and left after ten minutes' stay. My 
friend, whom you are trying, is innocent of all this crime. I 
swear it." 

The silence was appalling. The sensation was exquisite, 
and the situation the choicest of the season. Society was 
abundantly gratified. 

The perplexity of the judge increased. A statement had 
been made, and whatever he or anyone else might say it would 
weigh with the jury He did not wish that it should 



276 



GOLDEN LIVES. 



weigh, for he was annoyed at an interruption that he dared not 
ignore. The practice of the Court had been outraged. The 
result of much solemn consultation and headshaking was that 
Mrs. Cope was sworn and repeated her statement with a view 
to cross-examination, for the counsel for the defence asked 
no questions. He was content with the statement as it stood. 
Then the eminent and popular counsel for the prosecution 
assumed his most impressive mien. He did not look at Isabel 
as he addressed her, but stared fixedly at a blank space high 

up on the wall of the Court. 
He had small grey eyes, no 
eyebrows, a large shapeless 
nose, and a mouth with thin, 
colourless, dry lips, that he 
was accustomed to purse up 
with many creases. But 
although he asked his ques- 
tions, staring at the wall, 
he turned his eyes suddenly 
on the witness as he waited 
for the answer, with a good 
deal of the cobra in his man- 
ner. This was the way it 
ran : — 

" You are a married 
woman? " 

" I have contracted a mar- 
1 riage engagement." 

" Then you are married ; yes or no ? " 
" Conventionally : yes." 

" Construe what you mean by ' conventionally' ? " 
" I attended a Registrar's Office, and signed a record of 
marriage." 

" That is unconventional," remarked the counsel, highly 
gratified at his smartness. " We'll let that pass. You are 
married to Mr. Cope, eh? " 
" Unfortunately, yes." 
" Why unfortunately ? " 

" I was deceived and betrayed into the marriage by falsehood 
and fraud." 




THE PRACTICE OE THE LAW. 



Society was in the seventh heaven. 

"Who betrayed you ? " 

No answer. 

" Who betrayed you, I say? " 

" My father," came the answer, in low and melancholy tones. 

The eminent counsel did not like this answer. It awakened 
recollections of a little domestic incident associated with a 
hoped for marriage then being worked out at home, and the 
answer made him angry. 

" You would have pre- 
ferred the prisoner? " 

" I was engaged to him, 
and would have married 
him." 

" You therefore thought 
it proper to receive him at 
midnight in your husband's 
absence? " 

" No, I did not." 

" Then why did you re- 
ceive him, at midnight, in 
your husband's absence ? " 

"Because a parting inter- 
view was necessary to ex- 
plain my act." 

" At midnight ? " 

" Yes, at midnight. I had 
prying friends about me." 

At this answer a little 
scream was heard in the gal- 
lery, and Society discovered that Lady Arabella was among 
them, veiled and in the third row. 

"You thought that because you had assented to a marriage 
your father had proposed to you, you were entitled to receive 
an old lover at midnight, in the absence of your lawful husband, 
to exchange explanations. Is that your answer? " 

" Yes. It was on such an understanding." 

" Never mind your understanding. We only want your 
idea of marital propriety. Now, tell me this. You have said 
that when the prisoner was with you making these explana- 




278 GOLDEN LIVES. 

tions and so forth, you heard someone enter the house with a 
key. Is that so?" 

"Yes." 

" That you then waited for ten minutes in silence— no 
further explanations going on — and then the intruder left the 
house, as he came. Is that so? " 

"Yes." 

" You saw him from the window ? " 

"Yes." 

' ' He crossed the street ? ' ' 

"Yes." 

"Who was he?" 

This question came suddenly as the crack of a whip, but 
there was no answer, and the eminent counsel felt proud. 

" Come, Mrs. Cope ; you saw him. Who was he? " 

Still there was no answer. 

" You had a good look at him, Mrs. Cope, you know. He 
crossed the road, and stood looking at the house from the other 
side before he went away. Did you recognise him ? " 

Still there was no answer, and the judge awoke to the 
situation. 

" You must answer that question, Madam, for you must 
know whether you recognised the person or not." 

" My lord, I should not answer it." 

" Indeed, and why should you not ? " exclaimed the judge. 

" Because I am not sure, and being not sure, if I named a 
person I might do him a grave injustice." 

" Then your answer is," said the judge, " that you did not 
recognise the person, but thought he resembled some one of 
your acquaintance." 

"Yes." 

Then came a long wrangle about the name, and as to 
whether Isabel should be compelled to divulge it. Ultimately, 
it was agreed that it should be written down and handed to 
the judge. Isabel complied, but folded the paper twice before 
handing it to the court usher, and as the judge received it, she 
said : 

" My lord, the responsibility is with you ; " and then heaving a 
deep sigh, she seemed to be losing somewhat of her composure. 
The strain was becoming severe. 



THE PRACTICE OF THE LAW. 21'J 

There was just the suspicion of a grim smile upon the 
features of the judge, as he read the name of Joshua Cope on 
the paper, followed hy a glance of surprise at Isabel, and then 
he folded the paper up again and pondered. 

" I am considering, Mr. Attorney," said he, "whether this 
name should go any further. I am certainly of opinion that it 
should not go beyond the counsel in the case." 

" As your lordship pleases," was the response, and the 
paper was handed down. 

The feelings of Society and the press may be imagined as 
the paper was unfolded and read. In each case the reading 
was followed by an involuntary glance at Isabel — a surprised 
look, not unmixed with admiration. It was evident that 
neither the judge nor the counsel believed her story, but they 
thought it a most ingenious conception ; and he for the 
defence, as in duty bound, took it the more seriously. 

Society relied on the press for the contents of the paper, and 
the press was at its wits end devising schemes to procure it, 
but as each representative played for his own hand, no sign 
was given, and one at least chuckled at the idea, of his being 
safe for the prize, on the basis of a political affinity between 
his paper and the popular advocate, who owed much to 
democratic advocacy, and was a profound believer in con- 
ciliation. Holding a candle to the devil was a familiar act 
with him. He owed much to Society also, and the idea 
occurred to him that Society might be gratified by the publi- 
cation of that name, which, in any case, he was resolved 
the jury should know, because he foresaw an excellent 
opportunity of turning the whole incident to account with 
them. So, said he : 

" My lord, your lordship cannot fail to have remarked upon 
the important light this name throws on all that this witness 
has said; and I must ask you in the interest of justice to 
reconsider your determination to withhold it from the jury. 
Before, however, asking for your decision, I propose to ask one 

question." 

The judge assented, and the cross-examination proceeded. 

" Now, Mrs. Cope, you have told us that you preferred not to 
mention the name of this person, who, you say, entered and 
left the house while the prisoner was with you, because you 



280 GOLDEN LIVES. 

might be wrong. Now, will you swear you cannot make up 
your mind whether you recognised him or not?" 

There was marked hesitation — wavering — a strong effort, 
and again clear self-possession, as she said : 
" I believe it was he, but it was dark." 
" Now, my lord," exclaimed the counsel, with an outburst 
of impetuosity, " I ask that that name be handed to the 
jury." 

He had got exactly what he wanted, and while those who 
listened were with few exceptions unable to follow him, the 
air of savage triumph with which he demanded the publication 
of the name attracted the sympathy of the audience, and gave 
the key to his public successes. He drove with brutal energy 
to the objective point, sparing none, and absolutely reckless 
of everything but the purpose of the moment. The judge 
was as a feather in the wind, and Society was duly informed 
that it was her husband that she had named. 

Isabel, speaking as she did with simple truth, save only 
that she had no doubt whatever but that the visitor was 
Cope, was wholly unconscious of the use her statement would 
be put to, and had no conception of the aspect in which 
she would be regarded on the morrow by ninety-nine out of 
every hundred of the population. She had desired not to be an 
accuser of the man who happened to be her husband. She 
shrank from assuming a vindictive part ; and thus she 
hesitated and threw a doubt on what, in other circumstances, 
would have been avowed without a thought. But the popular 
counsel had not done with her. 

" Where is your husband? " 

" At Dudley." 

" What is he doing there ? " 

"He is ill." 

"How ill?" 

" He has his arms broken from an accident." 

" How did that happen ? " 

"He fell from a burning warehouse." 

" How did it come to be burning? " 

" It was fired by the mob." 

" Were you there ? " 

"Yes." 



THE PRACTICE C)E THE LAW. '2Hl 

" When did you reach Dudley V " 

"That afternoon." 

" That will do," said the counsel, and sat down, very much 
satisfied with himself indeed. He had achieved a distinct 
triumph, in a very difficult position. He had traded on the 
preference mankind has to believe evil, and had succeeded 
beyond imagination. 

The defence was hopeless. What to the simple mind of 
Isabel was a complete answer to the accusations made against 
her friend had been turned into a most fearful condemnation 
of herself. Even as she left the witness-box she had no appre- 
hension of the terrible consequences to herself of the declaration 
she had made ; still less of the confirmation she had given to 
the charge against her friend. She understood it later, when 
the jury was told that her story was an obvious fabrication 
conceived in the hope of weaving a halter for her husband's 
neck that she might be free to marry her lover. The infamy 
of the suggested motive appalled her. She listened, almost 
unmoved at the accusation that the same motive accounted for 
her presence at Dudley and the action of the incendiaries. 
The words of Cope, in his sick room, flung at her with male- 
dictions, returned to her, and she recognised at once the origin 
of her new misfortunes, and the error she had made. She was 
dumb with horror, and fled from the Court with the perfect 
certainty that all was lost. She was in no degree surprised, 
when three hours later, the news was brought to her that 
David Thresher was condemned to death. It was balm to 
her, when, later in the day, she heard that his only comment 
on her action was : 

"What a fearful sacrifice! Dishonoured for nothing, and 
worse than nothing!" 



CHAPTEE XXXVII. 

GENERAL AND PARTICULAR. 

The floodgates of popular opinion were opened up on the 
morrow of the trial. The British jury in the person of the 
entire British nation tried the case on appeal, zealously assisted 
by the press, which started any number of contradictory 
theories to their universal confusion. There was, however, 
little difference of opinion on one point. Nobody seemed to 
believe in Mrs. Cope's other man, excepting one journalist 
who had made a school of social thought based on the assump- 
tion that no woman was ever wrong, but always wronged, and 
that he and his devotees were alone pure among men. These 
accepted Mrs. Cope's other man as the only intelligible 
explanation of the mysteries of the case, and the fact that 
they did accept it and advocate it was a great misfortune 
for Isabel and Thresher and all their friends, because 
there is nothing that tells so much against one in this 
world as the support of a discredited advocate. But so it was, 
and the more this immaculate journalist worked his theories 
the more the cynics smiled and turned to other things. This 
inveterate person, however, was rather unhappy over one point. 
Mrs. Cope had disappeared, and was nowhere to be seen or 
heard of. He wanted to interview her, but she was gone. He 
had printed her portrait. That was easy, because it was on 
sale, along with the Bishops and notorious ladies of the ballet, 
the prominent statesmen and the ladies of title who had also a 
reputation for beauty. Mrs. Cope's portrait had become a 
rage ; but it was common. Everybody knew what Mrs. Cope 
was like, but she had never been interviewed, and what every 
journalist wants is something that nobody else has got or can 
get. That's why so many of them print what is not true. It 
is hardly in accordance with the fitness of things that because 
a lady in painful circumstances chooses to retire into privacy 
she should be discredited ; but so it was, and by not permitting 
herself to be interviewed she lost the energetic advocacy of the 
purist journalist who one fine day started an entirely new 



C.KNEliAL AND PAItTICULAK. '2H'-'> 

legend. Mrs. Cope, he announced with much circumstance 
and carefully contrived innuendo, was being sought for by the 
police and could nowhere be found. This was followed by 
mention of a possible respite in view of the trial of another. 
The language used was obscure, but sufficient to induce the 
suggestion that Isabel was an accomplice, if not the only 
criminal. If that did not bring her out of hiding to be inter- 
viewed nothing would. As she did not come it may be 
presumed that no product of a prurient imagination was equal 
to the task of stirring her to a sense of her obligation to an 
energetic press. 

Failing Mrs. Cope they besought her father, and Mr. Crawley 
Foyle was only too happy. It afforded him an opportunity he 
had been looking for to publicly announce " his discardation of 
the entire circle." He renounced his daughter, renounced 
Thresher, renounced everybody except Cope — the injured 
Cope ; and Arthur joined him in the general renunciation for 
a very potent reason. He had got into a very bad corner and 
Cope was his only chance of getting out with a whole skin. 
He had begun to revere Cope, and wondered how it was he 
never got into bad corners. Cope once said in his hearing that 
he supposed he was not cleverer than other people ; that he 
only saw a little further, which Arthur Foyle thought a 
ridiculous excess of modesty on Cope's part, and then went 
home and bit his nails in anger because he could not see as 
far as Cope. In this way it came to pass that Cope recruited 
the father and the brother on his side and so helped justice 
further on the road astray. 

Cope, still bound hand and foot, was in an ecstasy at the 
situation, and had all the newspapers read to him all day long, 
some of them twice over, they said such disagreeable things 
about his wife. One of them tickled him immensely by 
working out the idea that the poison had been intended by the 
two lovers for himself. This theorist had imported into his 
argument the entirely new fact that Cope had intended visiting- 
Brighton the very day of the death, and had been prevented 
by an unexpected piece of business. He had the article cut 
out and pasted on a card that he might read it himself — it 
pleased him so much, and he alternated the reading of it with 
other special gems of thought of the same character. He 



284 GOLDEN LIVES. 

suffered no interruption of this pastime except a visit from 
Shorter, and occasionally he vented an outburst of imprecation 
when by chance a sympathetic chord was struck at variance 
with his views, for there were a few — a very few — who by 
a process of abstract reasoning declined to admit the possibility 
of a heinous crime without the appropriate seed and soil. 

But almost all the forces that controlled the movement of the 
social life were dead against the wretched man, who looked to 
death as a relief from what had come to be a world of hopeless 
misery for him ; for what could wealth or faithful friends do 
for one saturated with the recollection of the hollowness, un- 
soundness, and determined error of the public mind and of the 
impotence of man against a combination of adverse facts that 
the Omniscient alone could construe in the absence of the 
hidden key ; and this was Cope's secret. Thresher became a 
fatalist as he brooded in his condemned cell. It is thus he 
reasoned that men and women win or lose, prosper or decay, 
not as they design nor as they work ; nor are they helped by 
others or thrown back from motives pertinent to the matter 
of their lives ; but here and there a blow is struck or a helping 
hand is given, because another with another purpose striving 
on another mission thinks the act will serve him in that 
other mission, reckless of the good or harm his selfish act 
may do. His misery was complete, for he had cherished 
ambitions for the good of his fellow men and his arm had been 
paralyzed as if by a lightning stroke. A victim of falsehood, 
fraud, and the crimes of others may surely be excused a 
feeling of satisfaction at the approach of death save only that 
the end was associated with dishonour. 



CHAPTEE XXXVIII. 

SILAS \V. OMAH AEEIVES. 

The disappearance of Mrs. Cope from the public eye was 
another of Mr Louison's triumphs. It was natural that Isabel 
should have sought a refuge in Maida Lodge ; and it delighted 
Mr. Louison to know that the seclusion it afforded could be put 
to so good a purpose. Jacobs and her mistress entered Maida 
Lodge at night by the wall that had not opened since Thresher's 
departure to give himself up to the police. They arrived late 
on the night of the trial, and it pleased the old man to leave 
them in almost exclusive possession of the wing that he 
formerly appropriated to his own use. 

Most sensible people applauded Isabel's seclusion, even the 
cynical said it was another mark of her cleverness, and Mr. 
Ware, her ever faithful counsellor, commended it as an act of 
wisdom. 

Consequent upon the retirement of Mrs. Cope the house 
in Park Lane was given up. The personal effects of Isabel 
were packed and stored, and those of Cope, being very 
few, were sent by train to Dudley. Their arrival at the Hotel 
caused him some thought, which he concluded with a sardonic 
grin and the remark : 

"Close of the account! He'll be hanged next week, and 
then I shall have a receipt in full." 

Cope's exultation would have been vastly increased if he 
could have had ocular demonstration of the concern of his 
opponents. There was much to plan and to do, for hope 
had not wholly deserted them. The lawyers were the less 
sanguine, because they appreciated more accurately the diffi- 
culties in the path they each and all resolved in their 
secret hearts to go; but although the lawyers were less 
sanguine, they knew the road better, and happily for all con- 
cerned no doubt existed in the minds of any of the four of the 
singleness of purpose of the rest. 

The counsels were many and prolonged. Eales practically 
regulated them ; and once or twice his rigid guidance 



286 GOLDEH LIVES. 

gave rise to remonstrance on the ground of lack of 
zeal. But there was exceedingly little to work on — practi- 
cally nothing. 

There was no longer any need of reticence on Isabel's part. 
She could declare now, without fear of misconception among 
her friends, that she had no doubt whatever as to who 
was the visitor who entered the house at Brighton while 
Thresher was with her. It was Cope, and no other than 
Cope. His figure, his walk, his manner, his clothes were all 
too vividly present to her mind — had been too forcibly 
impressed there to admit of a single doubt. Her hesitation 
and expressed fear of error had been dictated only by the 
knowledge that her motive might be misconstrued. Unhap- 
pily that caution had told against her, for her hesitation had 
been construed as an avoidance of actual perjury. That, in 
the light of succeeding events, was construed as a distinct blot 
in the case ; but how would a bold and open declaration 
unequivocal and immediate, have been construed, in the 
absence of any evidence to show that Cope had left Halesowen 
during that night. Of this there was none. It could merely 
be said there were trains he could have caught ; but as 
matters stood, he was believed to have slept in his warehouse, 
huddled in his hammock, on the night he was seen by 
Isabel ; and none but Isabel could be found to say they had 
seen him, from three o'clock the afternoon before until noon 
the next day, on any part of the route or anywhere at all. 

The negation was valuable, but wholly insufficient, and, 
despite all search, nothing more could be made of it. One 
new fact had been gathered, but that it was deemed prudent 
to conceal. Some egg shells had been found lodged in a street 
drain at Brighton, of an apparent age corresponding with those 

that had been removed from Miss 
Winscomb's house. The eggs had 
been apparently broken upon the 
grating, and had been partly forced 
through into the drain which was 
on the road from the house to 
Thresher's hotel. Obviously nothing 
could be made of this by his friends. Wild schemes of going to 
the Queen were discussed and were gradually pared down to the 




SILAS W. OMAH ARRIVES. 



2K7 



meagre aspect of a visit to the Home Secretary, and then 
abandoned in the absence of support from the Judge. The 
prospect was black indeed. 

Matters were at this pass within a week of the day fixed 
for the execution when Cheriton answered a timid knock 
at the front door of Maida Lodge. It was Slipper, the dis- 
reputable-looking clerk to Mr. Eales, who had brought a 
stranger with him anxious to see his master. The stranger 
was tall and dark, with black curly hair 
and black eyes that glistened. He was 
decidedly handsome, but careless about 
his appearance, and evidently a pushing 
man, for he soon supplanted Slipper in 
the conduct of his mission. 

" I've come, my friend," said he to 
Cheriton, with a hoarse voice, for he had 
a bad cold, "from the United States to 
see Mr. Eales, and I want to go back as 
soon as possible. Can I see him now? " 

Cheriton said he would find out, and 
took the stranger's card, which bore 
upon it, 

" Silas W. Omah, 
" Lawyer, 
" Topeka, Kansas, U.S." 

The stranger and Slipper followed Cheriton to the upper 
vestibule, and, looking around, the American gave expression in 
slow and measured tones to his views. 

'' My friend," said he, "this is a grand old house. We 
don't grow 'em like this in Kansas yet. This is a house that 
seems to have been going on some time. It's solid and 
is calculated to make a man feel comfortable and established 
when he looks around. There's a good deal in your country, 
my friend, of this sort of thing to be proud of, because you 
can't buy it. You must grow it." 

Slipper turned his active eye upon the stranger, wreathed a 
timid smile among the grime on his face, and muttered in 
guttural tones : 

" Real property." 




288 GOLDEN LIVES. 

" Quite so," said the stranger, "This country is real. It's 
all wood. You're a sight too solid and comfortable, and 
that's why you're so darned hard to get set agoing." 

Slipper did his best to straighten himself up for the honour 
of his country, and feeling a response was necessary, also 
for the honour of the country, said with more vigour than 
usual : 

" It's safer." 

" No doubt," said the American, "safer, quieter, easier, but 
it ain't inspiritin' " 

At this point Eales appeared, and enquired his business. 

"My business is very simple, sir," said the American, 
addressing Eales. " I have come from the States for a client of 
mine to see Mr. Joshua Cope, and I don't want to trouble 
you further than to let me know where I can come along with 
him. I see by the papers you have had some business with 
him. Isn't that so ? " 

" Yes," said Eales, cautiously ; " I have relations with him ; 
I am not instructed to ask your business, but I should be glad 
to assist you." 

" No, sir," said the American, promptly- " You cannot 
have been instructed, because Mr. Cope doesn't know I'm 
coming to see him. If my interview doesn't pan out, I'll 
come back and see you." 

Eales had no alternative. He gave the address and stated 
the condition of the old reprobate. The information had a 
striking effect upon the American, who, however, avoided any 
open mark of concern, and would have wound up the interview 
by expressing his obligations, but Eales continued by asking a 
question of much moment to his friends : 

" You have not come on any mission," said he, "connected 
with a recent trial in which Mrs. Cope, his wife, has appeared ? 
Eh ? " 

"No, sir; my business is quite private with Mr. Cope. I 
shall be glad to make your acquaintance, Mr. Eales, if my 
business with Mr. Cope enables me to return to you. Good 
morning, sir." 

The American left the house with Slipper and renewed the 
conversation which Eales had interrupted. He continued to 
lavish compliments on the institutions of the country, and 



SILAS W. OMAH ARRIVES. 289 

Slipper rose to the situation as far as he was able. Although 
his answers were monosyllabic, they were very much to the 
point, and the American not only accepted them, but in some 
cases expanded and embellished them. Slipper was elated 
with a feeling of national pride, and for the first time in 
his life experienced dissatisfaction with the state of his 
boots. He felt they were unbecoming in themselves, and 
in no sense fit for the representative of the British nation ; 
but he shambled along by the side of the tall stranger and 
tried to forget his personal shortcomings in his pride of 
nationality. 

" Say, friend," said Silas W Omah, " where can I get a long 
drink? You would like a long drink. That's so ? " 

A smile of daring, qualified by sickly doubt, broke over 
Slipper's face. Then, turning full round to bring his right eye 
upon his companion, he asked : 

" American drinks ? " 

" No, sir, British. What is your particular, Mr. Slipper? " 

" Grin," was the reply. 

" Then you shall have gin ; and I, well, I, my friend, will 
have what we are unable to get on the other side with that 
perfection to which you, my friend, attain — brandy — old 
brandy." 

The Kansas lawyer uttered this with an air of triumph, and 
Slipper, quickening his pace, led his companion down a 
narrow turning and into a very humble-looking public-house 
known as the " Black Bull," much frequented by the inhabitants 
of a neighbouring mews, and directed by a landlady of un- 
impeachable integrity Slipper knew the place well ; it was 
the hostelry to which he had recourse on the greater occasions 
of his life, among which he accounted this as one. He intro- 
duced the American with confidence, and when they were 
seated in the tap-room with their glasses he waited with calm 
expectation for more compliments. 

"Now, say, Mr. Slipper," said the American, with his 

arms folded across his chest, and his legs stretched out 

in front of him; "Do you really think, now, that Mr. 

Eales actually expected me to tell him my business with 

Mr. Cope?" 

"Yes." 

u 



290 GOLDEN LIVES. 

The American brought himself up suddenly, and faced round 
to Slipper as if he had been struck. Leaning over the table, 
he exclaimed : 

" You surprise me." 

Not being provided with a satisfactory response, Slipper 
buried his nose in his tumbler, and setting the glass down, 
coughed. 

"You see," said Silas W Omah, with increasing earnestness, 
" I don't know Cope." 

Slipper still did not see his way to a remark, and coughed 
again. 

" Now, what sort of a man is Cope? " asked the American. 

Slipper shook his head, put on a grim smile, and said : 

"Queer." 

" Plenty of money? " 

"Heaps." 

" Good man of business ? " 

" Tremendous." 

" And what has he to do with friend Eales ? " 

Slipper this time gave a little nervous cough, and, Omah 
noticing that the glass had been emptied, drained his own, 
and ordered duplicates. Then Slipper ventured his arms on 
the table, and said in a hoarse whisper : 

" Bales and me manage the Tontine that Cope's a 
member of." 

" The devil you do," exclaimed the American. " Give me 
your hand on that. I've business with Cope, and you just 
make me feel real good when you say he's wealthy and full of 
beans. You think he'll win, eh? " 

Slipper shook his head, and grinned. 

" Fairish chance," said he ; but no questioning would induce 
him to go further in his opinion ; and after some general con- 
versation, an examination of the time-table, and deliverance of 
Slipper's views as to the route, the two parted. 

Omah was in Dudley that night sleeping within a few 
rooms of Joshua Cope, who was still engaged in the 
pleasurable contemplation of Thresher's misfortunes and 
Mrs. Cope's discomfiture. The American seemed to be in no 
great haste, breakfasted late, and perambulated the hotel 
listlessly. He had observed the nurse, noted the room of the 



SILAS W. OMAH ABBIVES. 291 

invalid, and finally resolved upon action. He commenced 
with the waiter when taking lunch. 
Said he : 

"There's somebody up stairs seems to be pretty bad, 
James, eh? " 

" Yes, sir, Mr. Cope burnt in the fire; very bad, sir. Mr. 
Cope'U never walk about any more, sir, except with a crutch." 

"You don't say. Well, that's cruel," said the sympathetic 
Omah. " And there's a nurse attending him." 

" Two nurses." 

"Not both on duty?" 

" No, sir ; one by day and t'other by night." 

" They lift him about, I suppose." 

" He can't move himself, anyways," said James. 

" You don't say. Now, that is cruel. I suppose, James, if 
you was to go into his room and call him names, he wouldn't 
get up to punch your head ? " 

James grinned, and presently the American added : 

"People hereabout don't seem over sorry for him. He 
wasn't too popular." 

James regarded a dish of potatoes in his hand with a 
malevolent countenance and shook them about as he ejacu- 
lated, 

" Popular ? Likely ! Not the sort," and various other 
satirical comments indicative of Cope's standing and repu- 
tation. 

Omah's next proceeding was to waylay Mrs. Betts, the 
nurse, in the corridor, and said he : 

" My good lady, you see before you a very unfortunate 
young man. I've come all the way from the United States 
to see Mr. Cope for one minute and three-quarters, and now I 
find he's very ill. I want to see him for just one minute and 
three-quarters, and then I go straight back to the States — 
right away after that one minute and three-quarters. 

Mrs. Betts looked grave, said she was very sorry, quoted the 
doctor's orders : perfect quiet and no visitors. 

"My good lady, you're a model nurse. You're going on a 
little errand I suppose. Chicken broth, eli? Now would you 
just put this little coin into your reticule in acknowledgment of 
vour care and attention in the case of my dear friend Cope ; 

U 2 



292 GOLDEN LIVES. 

and if you can arrange anything for me send word to number 
twenty-seven. Just one minute and three-quarters, Mrs. Betts — 
no more." 

Mrs. Betts said she would think about it. The American 
watched her down the corridor, and the moment after 
she had disappeared he walked into the invalid's room 
unannounced. 

"Well, Abe Shorrocks, my friend, it's a long time since we 
met." 

The head lying on the pillow gave as it were a leap, and 
ejaculated : 

" We've never met : who are you ? " 

" Sir," was the response, with an air of offended dignity 
" My name is Silas W Omah," and here the tall American 
stopped to gauge the effect. He was not disappointed with 
the sudden jerk the head made as it lay on the pillow, and 
then he said : 

" Lawyer of Topeka, Kansas ; son of Ozias Omah, of 
Massachusetts, and once of New York city, si?-." 

The yellow and somewhat parched and crinkled visage, ill- 
shaven, and hollow-eyed lay stolid and unmoved, but obviously 
impressed at the words. Being addressed as " Shorrocks " had 
troubled him, but the name of Ozias Omah reduced the 
yellow to a pallid hue. 

" What do you want with me ? " asked the head. 

"I've come," said the imperturbable Silas W Omah, "to 
revive a family association. That — is — all." 

" Then you've come to the wrong man," said Cope, 
nervously. 

" No, sir. You're Shorrocks, and I'm right. I've not come 
from Topeka, Kansas, straight here without knowing my man. 
No, sir " 

" What do you want with Shorrocks ? " asked Cope. 

" I want Shorrocks, meaning you, my friend, in connection 
with a little partnership account of long standing, and which 
to all appearances has prospered in the matter of dollars ; and 
my client, who happens to be my father, would like his 
share." 

The head rocked to and fro in token of dissent, but there was 
no answer. 



SILAS \V. OMAH ARK1VES. 'J'.K'i 

" \ou don't appear to be well ; I don't want to inconvenience 
you, but I must get back home pretty smart, and I must have 
a settlement." 

•' I'm very ill," groaned Cope, who looked far worse than he 
was. "I shan't live a day if I'm worried, they say My feet 
burnt off and my arms both broken." 

"And a nasty gash on the face," added the American, 
referring to the scar. 

" No," said Cope sharply. " That's old, fifty years old— a 
sabre cut." 

The American grinned, and leaning over the patient took a 
near look at it. Then he grinned again, as he said : 

" Not much sabre, Shorrocks. I should say it was more 
tatoo than sabre. What do you say to a flesh wound cut 
around to shape it out, and tatoo to give it colour? "What do 
you say to the old quarter in New York fifty years ago, with 
the real Cope finished off with opium and Tonks and Ozias 
Omah very good friends ? What do you say to Ozias Omah 
sitting along with me, his dutiful son and his lawyer, and 
reading in the newspaper all about the private family history of 
Joshua Cope — who oughtn't to have had any family history for 
fifty years — all telegraphed right away —for we have enter- 
prising newspaper people in New York city ? And what do you 
say to the old man starting up pretty much mad and yellin' 
out ' Shorrocks, by gum ; off you go, Silas, to Europe ! It's 
halves,' says he, ' halves, but if Tonks is alive it's thirds. 
Hunt 'em up, Silas,' says he, ' and smart.' And then his 
language on the subject of Shorrocks became impolite. It was 
a partnership, Shorrocks ; and it's about time you divided up." 

The haggard old man's eyes nearly started out of his head as 
he listened to this speech, but he said nothing. Then the 
American added : 

" Think it over, Shorrocks; I'll take a seat." 

The American's voice was still hoarse, and he coughed to 
clear his throat as he sat down. Cope turning his head, said 
in guttural tones : 

" You've got a bad cold : so have I. I'm very weak. You 
must let me think. Come back in an hour. Send in the nurse." 

" "Why certainly, Shorrocks," said the American. " No one 
could refuse a reasonable request of that sort. I'll come back 



294 GOLDEN LIVES. 

in an hour, and if you're not ready then, we'll have another 
adjournment. If you're ready earlier, why, send for me. I 
shall be near the bar." 

He soon found the nurse, confidentially remarked that he 
thought it better to see his friend without compromising her 
in the eyes of the doctor, told her of the adjournment for an 
hour, and retired to the bar parlour, where he commenced 
amusing himself by initiating the florid barmaid in the 
mysteries of mixing " a corpse reviver " for his refreshment. 

The nurse found her patient by no means improved from 
the visit, but she had not yet acquired sufficient influence over 
him to scold without making him worse. She merely there- 
fore shook her head at him, stroked her apron, and asked what 
she could do for him. 

" Which is the drawer that holds my clothes ? " asked Cope 
faintly. " That's it at the bottom, eh ? Open the drawer, 
Mrs. Betts, and look for a belt with pockets in it." 

The woman did as she was bid, and soon held up a 
substantial canvas belt with two pockets in it, one on 
each side. 

" Open the pocket on the left side," said Cope, " and you'll 
find some bank notes. Take 'em out. Now count 'em." 

Mrs. Betts counted out ten five pound notes and laid them 
on the table. 

" That's right, Mrs. Betts. Put them into your pocket. 
Fifty pounds, Mrs. Betts, remember, fifty pounds. If I die 
they are yours, but remember this, Mrs. Betts," he added with 
energy, " if I live I'll give you ten five pound notes for every 
one of those you have. That's five hundred. And now, Mrs. 
Betts, go to the other pocket ; and see what you find." 

"A snuff box, sir," answered the woman, who was trembling 
with emotion at the flood of riches that had unexpectedly 
come in her road. She would not have been surprised if the 
snuff box had been full of diamonds, but on opening it as 
directed, she said it contained lozenges. 

" How many? " asked Cope. 

" Six," was the answer. 

" Put them here on the table beside me, within reach if I 
had arms to put towards them. Put them nearer," he added, 
" and so that I can see them." 



SILAS W OMAH AliUIVJiS. -i'JS 



She did so, and thought she observed a wild soured look in 
his face, as his eye rested on the lozenges. Then lie 
ruminated, and his mouth and eyebrows twitched, and his eyes 
glistened with mental excitement. Presently he said : 

" Mrs. Betts, you've got the fifty pounds, and you remember 
the five hundred." 

" Yes, sir." 

" Then, Mrs. Betts, you'll do as I want you." 

" Lor, sir, yes ; but don't look so sheared like." 

Cope laughed a hoarse little laugh and said : 

"I'm not well to-night, Mrs. Betts, and I feel weaker. I 
was only wanting you to do a very little thing. If anything 
happens to me, Mrs. Betts, I want you to put this snuff box and 
the lozenges into the fire before anyone comes. That's all, 
Mrs. Betts. 

" Oh, yes, sir," said the nurse. 

" That's not much, Mrs. Betts." 

" Oh, no, sir." 

"No," he repeated, "that's not much. It's very little. 
Now take care of the notes, Mrs. Betts, and mind you do as I 
say. Keep me alive if you can, Mrs. Betts, but if you can't, 
then do as I say." 

He closed his eyes and seemed to take a little rest, and 
his face hardened to something like its old form, and he 
began to mutter to himself and set his teeth ; and Mrs. 
Betts felt nervous, but more hopeful of her five hundred 
pounds than she had done a few minutes before, because 
she knew that this awakening energy was not that of a 
dying man. 

Soon afterwards the American returned, and without 
waiting to be announced, walked into the room. At the sight 
of him Cope set to coughing violently, and when he had 
recovered, told Mrs. Betts to leave the room. 

The American walked about in a somewhat masterful 
manner ; and Cope watched him with curious intentness. At 
length he said : 

" What is it you want of me?" 

" To divide up, my friend." 

" Speak plainer : how much do you want ? " 

" Five hundred thousand dollars." 



296 GOLDEN LIVES. 

" And if I don't give it to you : what then ? " 

" I shall go and trade with Eales." 

" That won't help you." 

"Not as good as tradin' with you, I reckon; but it'll be 
better than nothing." 

The American coughed. 

" All right," said Cope, " we'll trade. Take one of my 
lozenges, it'll do your throat good, and give me one." 

The American put a lozenge into Cope's mouth and two into 
his own. As he did so, Cope was seized with coughing, and 
threw his head round on the pillow away from the American ; 
but the American was tall, and looking over, he saw that the 
lozenge he had given Cope had fallen out of his mouth, and 
that the sick man, with a dexterous twist of the neck, had 
almost hidden it from view. Quick as thought, he spat the 
two lozenges on the floor, and said : 

" Shorrocks, I always follow a good example." 

A look of fright passed over Cope's face, as he gasped : 
"What?" 

" A good example, Shorrocks. Those lozenges are evidently 
not good for your digestion, and they may accordingly disagree 
with me. They remind me of those eggs that the ladies of 
Brighton succumbed to, eh ? I think I'll take charge of your 
supply." 

And saying this, he took the snuff-box from the table, and 
with much deliberation picked up the two lozenges he had 
thrown on the floor. While he was doing this, Cope twisted 
his head over, recovered the lozenge he had spat on the pillow, 
and swallowed it. 

The American proceeded in a deliberate manner to wrap up 
the two lozenges in paper before he put them with the rest, 
accompanying the action with several sarcastic remarks, such 
as : "I opine a cough is preferable to the medicine." " There 
are some cures worse than the disease." " Always keep your 
eyes on Shorrocks is a good rule." With this, he looked up, 
and found Cope staring at him with glazed eyes, and a 
hideously distorted face. He was dead. 



CHAPTEK XXXIX. 

SILAS W OMAH " OWNS UP A BUSTED FLUSH." 

Silas W Omah, Lawyer, of Topeka, Kansas, found himself 
in a difficult position. To be in the room of a sick and 
helpless man alone, and to be found there a quarter of an-hour 
after with the man dead, was a position that required expla- 
nation, especially as Silas W Omah held in his hand the 
instrument of Death ; and more especially since Dr. Prod, Mr. 
Eales, and the nurse, all appeared in a body at the door before 
he had sufficiently realised the irksomeness of the situation. 
He soon recovered, however, and looking at the new comers, 
said : 

"Well, gents, if you had come a little sooner, you might 
have prevented a catastrophe. Shorrocks has just given in his 
cheques ; and this snuff-box '11 tell yer how, for I'm denied if 
I know " 

The doctor passed rapidly to the bedside, the nurse turned 
pale with fright at the sight of the snuff-box in the American's 
hand, and impulsively crossed the room with a vague idea of 
getting possession of the box. Eales stood apart, gradually 
acquiring conception of the incident. Professional instinct 
caused him to remain with his back to the door. 

" I told you, Mr. Eales," said the American, as soon as the 
first excitement had subsided, " that if my trading with Cope 
didn't pan out, that I should come back to you ; it has not 
panned out, and it seems you've saved me the trouble of going 
south. You've been straight and fair with me, Mr. Eales, and 
I may as well tell you that, now Shorrocks is dead, I'm played 
out, and propose to find my way back to Topeka, Kansas, 
right away." 

Eales explained he could scarcely do that in the circum- 
stances, and when this had become quite clear to him, he 
resigned himself to the situation. 

The necessary inquiries followed, the nurse confessed to the 
circumstances of the snuff-box, and its contents explained, not 
only the death of the patient, but provided the necessary key 



300 GOLDEN LIVES. 

to the Brighton mystery. It is needless to add that it opened 
the door of the condemned cell to Thresher. The British 
public thereupon commenced a series of indignant remon- 
strances at the practice of the law, on the assumption that it 
ought to be omniscient and unerring, notwithstanding it was 
the creation of the critics themselves. The revulsion of public 
sentiment was complete, and Isabel became the idol of the 
hour. 

Silas W Omah took a more matter-of-fact view of the 
situation, and on a subsequent occasion when Bales was urging 
him to stay, that Thresher might thank him for his part in 
the business, he replied : 

" Mr. Eales, you've been very good and straightforward to 
me, and have won fair. I can't raise you, Mr. Eales, and I 
can't even pay to see 'cause you've got a straight flush to an 
ace, and I've nothing but a busted flush knave high. I've 
made a bad draw ; and I hope your luck '11 hold on, as I shan't 
be here to steer against it. I didn't come here to serve you; 
and I wasn't extra anxious to help your friend Thresher out of 
a bad hole, specially because I didn't know he was in it till I 
got here. I'm glad he's likely to be put right, and I'm glad 
I've been the means, but I never meant to do him a good turn, 
and I've no claim on him. Still, as you say he'd like to see 
me, I'll stop just to shake hands, and then I'm off." 

" Well, Mr. Omah," said Eales, suppressing a smile, " I'm 
not a poker player, and cannot quite appreciate your simile ; 
but I sympathise with you, and I hope my sympathy will not 
bs altogether barren. You've come a long journey on a 
mission of your own, and you have failed by an accident, 
which you could not control, and which none of us could 
foresee." 

"Well, sir, I was warned," said the American, in a melan- 
choly manner. " The last words the old man said to me, as I 
came away, was a warning, true as any words man spoke. 
Said he, ' Silas, boy,' says he, 'remember Shorrocks is up to 
all the cussedness that ever entered the soul of man and 
more.' I made a mistake, sir; I should have pretended to 
swallow those lozenges, as Cope did, and I should not have let 
him know I saw his on the pillow. That move would have 
given him fits, eh ? " 



SILAS W. OMAH " OWNS UP A BUSTED FLUSH." 



301 



The American was much amused by this reflection, but the 
melancholy tone returned, as he said : 

"But there was more than that. You see that his game 
was up. What could a man do without feet, and both arms 
broken, at the age of seventy, and more. He had made up his 
mind to turn off the steam on the first hitch, and the first 
hitch came when I saw that lozenge on his pillow. Turn 
over in your mind, Mr. Eales, where he would have been now, 
if he hadn't swallowed that lozenge — besides, his arms would 
not mend — the doctor had told him the bone was past mending. 
It wouldn't join up." 

Omah's interview with Thresher was equally characteristic. 
He repeated his protestation that he had come with no good 
intention, but with absolute indifference to Thresher's fate. 

" Then," said Thresher, still holding Silas W Omah by the 
hand, " it is the hand of God." 

The American looked at his newly found friend, with a 
correspondingly serious manner, but with the matter-of-fact 
habit of his people, he answered : 




" Well sir, I'm not quite sure about the hand of God, unless 
you think a pair of aces up the sleeve a part of your notion of 



302 GOLDEN LIVES. 

that sort of thing. But look here, sir, I'm very glad to see 
you outside of your Tombs here," he added, heartily shaking 
Thresher's hand, with both his own ; and then with his arms 
folded across his chest and taking a full survey of the company, 
he said : 

" But, as I told your friend Eales, the other day, I didn't 
come here to serve you. I came to grind my own axe, and, it's 
no use to disguise the truth. If I had succeeded, you, my friends, 
would have been the losers. I'm very glad you're not mad 
with me for doing my best to win." 

They were by no means "mad," and Eales made many 
proffers of compensation for his time and trouble, all of which 
Omah refused, saying Eales had played straight and fair, and 
there was nothing due to him. He left the country in the same 
mind, made money at poker on the way across the Atlantic, and 
had only one misgiving — his father's reception of him. It was, 
however, boisterously cordial, and a positive welcome of praises. 
Five hundred thousand dollars had been telegraphed to the 
old man, on the order of Silas W Omah, and Silas, guessing 
its origin, came to the conclusion to refrain from explanation. 
What amazed the old man, however, was that his son had 
managed so successfully, seeing Shorrocks had poisoned himself. 
But Silas merely smiled. 

Joshua Cope's death affected others. Immediately it came 
to the ears of Crawley Eoyle he sent for Shorter, made him a 
partner of Schrieber & Co. in five minutes, and thereafter 
occurred a vigorous burning of partnership accounts on both 
sides. The wisdom of this activity was apparent shortly 
afterwards in the smiling countenance and air of repose that 
characterised the member for Buckton, whose sense of 
moral rectitude obliged him, so he said, to refrain from 
intercourse with his daughter, a course that Arthur Eoyle, 
from equally cogent reasons of his own, was mean enough to 
subscribe to. 

As for Shorter, he gradually assumed the manners of a 
successful City merchant, whose penurious habits were 
regarded as a natural accompaniment of great wealth. He 
gave up preaching, but was in hopes of soon becoming another 
Providence for the correction of the improvident habits of the 
Eoyle family. 



SILAS W. OMAH " OWNS UP A BUSTED FLUSH." 303 

Isabel, in the circumstances, was superior to the hypocrisy 
of mourning, or the affectation of widowhood. She married 
Thresher in a week from his liberation. Soon afterwards 
Eales arranged a deed winding up the Tontine for the benefit 
of old Louison and Miss Winscomb, with remainder to David 
Thresher in trust for certain benevolent purposes. Miss 
Winscomb said it seemed like a marriage settlement, and 
she waited only for the consent of Martha to name the 
wedding day. 




POSTSCRIPT. 



A friendly critic has remarked upon the mechanical contrivance referred 
to m the twenty-ninth chapter of this book, and has not only objected to 
the possibility of so constructing a secret doorway in a stone wall, but has 
still more doubted the possibility of setting up such a contrivance without 
the fact of the structure becoming notorious through the gossip of the 
workmen employed. The singular character of the arrangement, it has 
been pointed out, would have provoked interest and discussion ; and the 
doorway, so far from remaining a secret entrance, would have become an 
object of special interest and one of the sights of the neighbourhood. 

In the absence of a detailed description of the structure, it is more than 
likely many others would share this view, but the temptation to hamper 
the story by an elaborate description of the design of the doorway and the 
manner in which it was put up was successfully resisted, for while a 
comparatively few may be desirous of wading through half a dozen pages 
on such a matter, the many prefer that an author should have a due 
regard for proportion, especially in a work that has been designed to 
present situations dramatically in the fewest possible words. It is proper, 
however, to deal with this mechanical curiosity in a postscript for the 
satisfaction of those who are curious on the subject. 

From the plans and papers relating to this matter, carefully preserved 
in Mr. Louison's library, it appears that when he first conceived the idea 
of procuring for himself a secret exit from Maida Lodge, he procured 
through the elder Eales a detailed plan and specification of the door 
of a strong room, which should open inwards, and the hinge of which 
should be set back two feet from the plane of the door's face, and 
six inches from the jamb, so that the hinge would cause the entire 
doorway to move in a curve on an eccentric axis. He required also 
that the door should be in the form of a hollow box one foot deep, 
so that, as he said, he could construct within it a wooden cupboard, 
which should conceal its character. The fact that he had no in- 
tention of doing this was carefully concealed from everyone, even the 
elder Eales. He acted throughout, indeed, on a principle of intentional 
concealment of his object, and, as will be seen from what follows, each 
contributor to this curious structure was employed to do a thing which was 
in most cases reasonable and intelligible in itself, and, so far as they could 
judge, a complete job. The specification for the iron doorway to this pro- 
posed strong room prescribed that the doorway should run back on rollers, 
that the iron track on which these rollers ran should be joined to, and if 
possible, be cast bodily with the frame on which the doorway was hinged, 
and that the frame was to be so made that it could be built into the left- 
hand wall of the strong room. All these conditions were complied with, 
the strong room door was made, paid for, and, having been packed in two 
separate cases, was warehoused in the south of London, three miles from 

Maida Lodge. 

The next step was to have a wall built round the house, and the 
contract prescribed that the blocks of stone should all bo eighteen inches 
siiuare bv four feet long : they were all to be bevelled two inches on the 
face and worked so as to show a bevel on the face of two inches all round 
each stone. "What struck the builder as singular on this poiut was a 



s 



POSTSCRIPT. 



further stipulation that the bevel should at one end be continued the 
whole width of the block, while at the other end, it should cease at the 
end of two inches, and that after this, the stone should be bevelled at 
right angles to that bevel so as to fit its neighbour. The horizontal 
section of these stones therefore presented the following singular form. 





No stones of any other form and size were to be used, except stones of 
less length at the corners of the street, and so the wall was built 
within twelve months of the warehousing of the iron door of the 
proposed strong room. 

When this work was completed, and the contractor had finally removed 
his workmen and plant, Mr. Louison caused another mason to begin 
another work — the building of two inner walls at right angles to the 
outer wall, and so as to connect the outer wall with the house throughout 
the whole depth of the house. This enclosure, so constructed between 
the house and the wall, was divided into three separate chambers ; and 
doorways were made to gain access from the gardens to the two outer 
chambers, but the middle chamber was a sealed vault. 

This done, and the workmen dismissed, another mason was called in 
to make a doorway from the basement of the house into the middle of 
the three chambers built between the house and the garden wall. Then 
the iron doorway, after eighteen months' warehousing, was brought to 
Maida Lodge packed in the two cases, and an exact copy of the box-like 
door was made in wood for the purpose of easy handling and carried 
into the inner chamber, where a mason chiselled away various portions 
of the inside of the five stones and fitted them to occupy and fill the 
interior of the box-like wooden copy of the door. Thereafter the iron 
door itself was fitted to the five stones, and joined to them by bolts, 
and there it stood a fixture and actually a part of the wall. 

The next step was the introduction of an engineer to fit the framework 
of the door, and the first man who came refused the job because he 
declined to do so absurd a thing as fit up a door that obviously would not 
move. Another more complaisant engineer was discovered, and the work 
was done. 

The interior arrangements having been thus completed, the final 
operation of actually opening and swinging the door remained to be done, 
and it became necessary to do this by the hand of Cheriton alone. An 
enclosure or hoarding on the outside of the wall was necessary to conceal 
the operations from the passers by, and to procure this an order was 
given to a mason to construct a fireplace and chimney in one of the outer 
chambers. Under cover of this hoarding Mr. Louison and his man 
Cheriton, between them, passed a saw through the bevilled interstices 
of the five stones held in the iron door and the work was complete. 
A little later the unnecessary chimney was removed and the top of it 
closed with a stone slab. 

Altogether, the work was spread over two years, and cost about a 
thousand pounds, apart from the cost of the wall itself, but time and cost 
were never considered by Mr. Louison when engaged in working out a 
scheme that gratified his passion for realising an ingenious and secret 
enterprise. 



THE LIBRARY EDITION 

Ob' 

GOLDEN LIVES. 

THE NTOliY OF A WOMAN'S COUKAOK. 
Printed on superior paper, Demy 8vo., and handaomoly bound in levelled Hoards. 

Price One Guinea 



SOME EXTRACTS FROM P/it'SS NOTICES. 



Mr. Wicks has succeeded in compressing a very lively story crammed 
full of incident and vicissitude into comparatively narrow limits. 
The author has had the courage in arranging for its production to depart 
from modern traditions as to the form in which a novel should be given 
to the world . and has procured its adornment with no fewer than 
120 sympathetic illustrations, by M. Jean de Paleologue. — The Ti 



' I IIU'S. 



The plot is developed with care, precision, and completeness. . To 
write a novel, the characters in which act exactly as they might in real 
life, is an achievement, but to write a story in which, behaving themselves 
thus, they are constantly entertaining, is a remarkable feat. — Saturday 
Recieir. 

A great deal of cleverness is diffused over "Golden Lives," which 
contains the germs of half-a-dozen excellent novels mainly, however, of 
the kind which prigs of criticism delight in styling " cynical." — The 
Academy. 

An original, unconventional, very striking romance, with over a hundred 
capital illustrations, which really illustrate the text— all which makes us 
want more from the same pen and pencil. . A romance with which 

it is hard to find fault. . . . The interest of the story in no way depends 
upon the plot, which is slight in itself, is quite subordinate to the easy, 
undiluted narrative, the clever character drawing, the teeming incident, 
and the flowing style. — Vanity Fair. 

A novel, and one of the best published this season ; and all the better 
for being in one stout handsomely-printed volume. The plot is constructed 
with rare skill, the writing is good, and the people all alive.— Punch. 

The clever drawings that are so distinctive a feature of the book are 
true illustrations of its text, and so well are the peculiarities of the various 
personalities reproduced, that one is inclined to doubt whether the 
author and the artist are not in reality identical.— Mormmj Post. 

It is the first novel or romance in which the author has deliberately 
associated an artist with him as a colleague, rather than as a species of 
assistant decorator. Usually the draughtsman's business is to lUustrate 
a story. Here he helps to tell it. . Mr AVicks's work differs from 

other fiction of our time. It differs from most others in being agreeably 
unconventional in its choice and treatment of character. . All 



uuconveniiionai m ^n "'"'^^ "~~ , . , ,, , . , „ ,■ 

Mr. Wicks's P er*»ueh*ve individuality ; he evidently has a quick eye for 
human idiosyncrasy, and he can describe his impressions with considerable 
incisiveness. — Ulohe. 

The nurelv original production of a man of genius, whoso touch recalls 
the handiwork of the groat master. . . There is no sign of what wo 
are accustomed to inV fiction of the day-slipshod work written « for 
halfpence "-youthful imagination being responsible for the most astonish- 



11. SOME EXTEACTS FBOM PRESS NOTICES. 

ing creations of character and pictures of life. Everything is carefully 
thought out in " Golden Lives," and on every hand are signs of much time 
and care having been expended over the book. . Mr. Wicks has 

called to his aid a certain Jean de Paleoloyue, who has contributed over a 
hundred most beautiful and thoroughly artistic illustrations to the 
volume, which greatly enhances its value. So long as these two gentle- 
men work hand in hand, so long will the art of fiction be redeemed from 
the utter degradation into which it is rapidly sinking. — Whitehall Review. 

There is an originality about the author's method which at once chains 
the attention and carries one through to the end. . . To say that the 
book is ably constructed is only a half-hearted way of bestowing praise on 
a work, which, if we are any judges of literature, is likely to survive most 
of the ephemeral works of the period. , There are no fewer than one 

hundred and twenty illustrations by Jean de Paleologue, and we have no 
hesitation in pronouncing them the very best things of their kind since 
" Phiz " ; they are even more artistic than the work of that celebrated 
artist, and will go far towards building up a superb reputation for a man 
who is too little known in this country. — St. Stephen's Review. 

By no means the sort of book that one reads every day in the week. 
The style is uniformly lively. — Scots Observer. 

It has a plot of great strength and, in one or two particulars, of 
absolute novelty. It contains one character, who is handled 

throughout with great freshness and vigour — that of Isabel Foyle — who is 
as little like the ruck of heroines as the book in which she appears is like 
the ruck of novels. . . A very unconventional novel which will 

probably make some stir in the reading world. — ■Sunday Times. 

The plot is as full of incident as the keenest lover of sensation can 
demand. — St. James's Gazette. 

An excellent novel. The plot is involved without being intricate, and 
it is developed with a logical skilfulness rarely to be found. . The 

sketches are clever and amusing, and have the rare merit of really 
illustrating the text. — Standard. 

A brisk and crisply-written story, abounding in incident, and based on a 
decidedly sensational plot. M. Jean de Paleologue has contributed 

no fewer than a hundred and twenty admirably drawn and excellently 
appropriate illustrations to this admirably got-up volume. — Momimj 

. Idvertiser. 

It is written in English, and in much better English than most of its 
class. — The World. 

A tale well written and full of interest. — The Lady. 

A great improvement on the ordinary three volume novel, and far better 
suited to the library shelf. . . A single, handsome, octavo volume, 
admirably printed and profusely illustrated. All the characters are 

well drawn. — John Bull. 

Mr. Wicks needs no plot to give interest to his knowledgable drawing of 
every-day scenes and his clever portrayal of every-day life, be it high or 
low. Brighton and London, the palace and the hovel, the office and the 
workshop, the senate and the detectives' bureau, each in turn serves as a 
background, while instead of laboured description and tedious delineation 
of character he gives a plentiful and ocular demonstration of his meaning 
in the delicately-executed studies of his illustration. Since the 

days when Phiz laid down his pencil, and Cruikshank rested on his 
laurels, we have never been so interested nor so pleased. — The Freemason. 



s 



■srrrcr 



SOME EKTW.UTS FROM TRESS NOTICKS. HI. 

Well printed, well bound, and beautifully illustrated. It is written with 
much spirit and feeling. 1\I,-. Wicks is to bo congratulated upon hi 

charming work, which should become very popular. — Society. 

Written in a crisp, terse style. Tithy pointed dialogue.— Oh 

So heartily written that it easily carries the reader alon„ 
Considerable ingenuity shown in the construction of the plot. T 

ball is kept always rolling briskly from one turn of the drama to another. 
The book has a series of capital illustrations from the pen of 
Jean de Paleologue. They increase its charm in no small degree.— 
Scotsman. 

When a novel gets a firm hold of the reader and hurries him along 
through scene after scene without allowing him either time or opportunity 
for cool consideration or criticism, there can be but one opinion as to 
its merits. . Seldom has there been such an example of thorough 

understanding and sympathy between author and artist, and they are to 
be congratulated on the success of their joint labour. — t/lasyow Jlcrahl. 

A work abounding in human interest — the primary essential in fiction — 
presenting good and faithful work, and showing a sympathy with and true 
insight into human nature. . Restraint, virility, and naturalness are 

its key notes. It is an admirably-conceived, and ably-executed novel of 
present day life : strong in situation, clever in character drawing, and 
serious in purpose. — Glasgow Evening Noes. 

Mr. Wicks has achieved a great amount of success in writing 
" Golden Lives." His plot is fresh and his characters are drawn with a 
care and minuteness only to be obtained by one who has been a close 
student of human nature. The author's acquaintance with life, 

and his insight into human nature make him better fitted to write fiction 
than most people who attempt it. The reading public are greatly 

indebted to both writer and artist for the treat provided for them in 
" Golden Lives." — Dundee Advertiser. 

We should think that by this time the world has had enough of the 
three volume novel, and for our own part we hail with pleasure reversion 
to the one volume form. . The story is full of dramatic situations. 
The work does not allow the reader to go to sleep over any part of 
it. It is written in a crisp and fresh style, which has much to recommend 
it, although slow people may say that it lacks the to them soothing charm 
of repose. — Northern Chronicle. 

Written with literary skill and power with the tact of a man who 

knows the world, and who knows how to use the pen. — Jure mess Courier. 

It is seldom a work of fiction is so beautifully illustrated as this volume, 
although the high literary merits of Mr. Wicks's novel are on a par even 
with its artistic embellishment. That the story will attract great attention 
and be one of the books of the season we can confidently predict — 
Xcicctistlc Chronicle. 

A story full of cleverness and power. . The author gives touches of 

reflection and social comment, which will appeal to the higher order ot 
readers. Throughout the book the interest of narrative and por- 

traiture is excellently well sustained.— Newcastle Daily Leader. 

Original, ingenious, and attractive in more ways than one. . 'I ho 

book deserves to succeed, and, we should say, will succeed jusfc because it 
is as we have already said, bold, original, and unconventional ; ami 
especially because it does not have one dull page from the opening to tiio 
closing chapter. — Neu castle Daily Journal. 



IV. SOME EXTEACTS FEOM PEESS NOTICES. 

The author has supplied situations more exciting than usual, and in a 
fresh style has broken up some entirely new ground. . The book 
will be talked about. . If for nothing else, this would be a notable 

volume by reason of the one hundred and twenty pictures with which 
Jean de Paleologue has vividly illustrated the text. These sketches, in 
fact, form quite a valuable little art collection in themselves, and give to 
the work— otherwise elegantly got up — an unusually sumptuous appear- 
ance. — Manchester Courier. 

Quite a remarkable novel ... got up with unusual care, and the 
numerous illustrations are highly effective. The writing is very 

clever, so that whoever reads the first two chapters is sure to read to the 
end. — Liverpool Mercury. 

Mr. Wicks has observed society keenly, and as a natural result he is 
something of a cynic and a scoffer, delighting to turn the seamy side of 
apparent respectability outwards, and to show to what meannesses, 
cruelties, and wickednesses men will at times stoop when driven by selfish 
greed and lust for power. . Distinctly a clever book.— Nottingham 

Daily Guardian. 

The literary power of the work is emphasized and made more potent by 
the acceptable principle of compression. — Dover Telegraph. 

Incident enough to stock several novels of ordinary type. . . Mr. 
Wicks wastes no power and loses no space in moralising or long-drawn 
descriptions. His reflections are of the tersest ; in his narrative he goes 
straight to the point : and three hundred pages of romance have seldom 
contained so little matter that a casual reader could afford or could wish 
to skip. There is not a dull page in the book, nor one which does not fill 
in necessary colour or in some way forward the story. — Sheffield Telegraph. 

There is a refreshment in accompanying Mr. Wicks off the beaten track 
of the conventional novelist. Instead of the three orthodox volumes, we 
have one substantial 8vo. tome with quite a profusion of illustrative 
sketches . The tale is told with a straightforward directness, which 
knows no ambush, makes the characters tell their own story in crisp and 
decisive dialogues, and credits the reader with sufficient intelligence to 
render laboured explanations as unnecessary as tedious philosophisms. — 
Sheffield Independent. 

" Golden Lives " bears the stamp of literary power and originality. — 
Cambrian. 

The author of this notable work displayed no small amount of courage 
in the selection of the principal pivot round which the leading characters 
revolve. The conditions under which the extraordinary marriage 
ceremony between Joshua Cope and Isabel Foyle was gone through were 
such as the hand of a literary artist could alone prevent from introducing 
risky matter. That Mr. Wicks has successfully steered clear of all 
difficulties and has produced an eminently attractive tale are facts which 
speak eloquently of his powers as a writer of fiction. — Northern Whig. 

This is an almost perfect book. The smoothest of paper, the clearest 
of type, clever illustrations, and a brilliant story. A book to be 

bought and treasured up. — Birmingham Gazette. 

Whether we regard the literary style or the facile illustrations of this 
book, we must at once pronounce it to be extraordinary ; and it must be 
read to be appreciated. The book is a thoroughly amusing and 

clever one. — Bristol Times and Mirror. 



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MINE IS THINE By L. W. M. Lockhart. 

ALTI0RA PETO . By Laurence Oliphant. 

DOUBLES AND QUITS . By L. W. M. Lockhart. 

THE BLACKSMITH OF YOE By Pact, Ccshixo. 

Other Volumes in Preparation. 
Complete in Six Volumes. 

TALES FROM 'BLACKWOOD.' Third Series. Also 

handsomely bound in cloth, 15s. ; or in 12 vols., cloth, 18s. The G vols., 
bound in roxburghe, 21s. ; half-calf, 25s. ; and half-morocco, 2Ss. Also to be 
had in 12 parts, Price Is.jiach. 

In Six Handsome Volumes. 

TRAVEL, ADVENTURE, AND SPORT. From Uim-kiro,,,!'* 

Mioia-ine.' Cloth, 15s.; or half-calf, 25s. Also to be had in 12 parts, 
Price Is. each. 

WILLIaTbLACKWOOD & SONS, EDINBURGH AND LONDON.